Red hot planet: This summer’s punishing and historic heat in 7 maps and charts


Temperature difference from normal May through July. ( Robert Rhode/Berkeley Earth )

The headlines of record-crushing heat in the Northern Hemisphere began in June and haven’t stopped midway through August. Scores of locations on every continent north of the equator have witnessed their hottest weather in recorded history.

The sweltering temperatures have intensified raging wildfires in western North America, Scandinavia and Siberia, while leading to scores of heat-related deaths in Japan and eastern Canada.

Even with peak of summer having passed, several locations in western North America notched their highest temperatures on record last week. They included Calgary in western Canada, and Glacier National Park in Montana, where the temperature touched the century mark for the first time in 70 years of records.

A weather station in Idaho soared to a torrid 119 degrees (48.3 Celsius) last week. While it requires verification, it would mark the state’s highest temperature ever measured.

Maps and charts really help tell the story of the incredible heat this summer and place it in historical perspective. Here are 7 of the most compelling:

1. Record heat, day by day, May through July


(Robert Rhode/Berkeley Earth)

The remarkable coverage of both record-challenging and record-breaking heat is shown in this animated map which shows how many locations around the planet were coping with exceptionally hot weather every single day.

Few areas were left untouched by the heat which spread around the planet. Some areas, like the western United States, Japan and Scandinavia, were hit repeatedly.

2. The hottest May through July on record in the U.S. Lower 48 states


(NOAA)

The contiguous United States witnessed its hottest May on record, passing the previous mark set during the Dust Bowl. But it was July, which ranked 10th hottest, which delivered some of the most remarkable heat extremes.

California endured its hottest July on record. The scorching weather created idea wildfire conditions, and blazes have since consumed about 750,000 acres. Death Valley’s average July temperature of 108.1 degrees (42.3 Celsius) represented the hottest monthly reading ever measured on the planet.

In early July, the weather station at the University of California at Los Angeles, which has kept measurements since 1933, posted an all-time high of 111 degrees (43.9 degrees).

San Diego has seen astonishing warmth, including a record 16-day streak with highs of at least 83 degrees (28.3 Celsius) that just ended and an ongoing 21-day streak in which its low temperature hasn’t fallen below 70 (21.1 Celsius).

The historic warmth has transformed the normally cool ocean temperatures off the San Diego coast to ostensibly bath water in early August. The water temperature at Scripps Pier broke its previous record high mark set in July 1931 four times, most recently climbing to 79.5 degrees (26.4 Celsius) on August 9.

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