Fall arrives at 9:21/Central this morning and a federal climate report says this summer will be going out as the hottest ever recorded on the planet.
Al Dutcher, a climatologist with the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension, says he’s not yet comfortable saying anything of the sort, as the numbers remain far from final.
“We still expect this will be in the upper tier of the warmest summers on record, probably a top ten for a good portion of the United States,” Dutcher says. “Really, the driving force behind that is a substantial increase in the minimum temperatures during the overnight hours.”
A lot of this summer’s record heat in Nebraska and elsewhere came during the months of June and August. June especially had several triple-digit days.
“July was much closer to normal,” Dutcher says. “We saw the heat slip back more toward western Nebraska where we had high temperatures consistently in the upper 90s to low 100s. We did not see as much elevation in our minimum temperatures in western Nebraska but that’s a much more arid environment than eastern Nebraska.”
While many ag industry analysts predict a record corn crop for the region this fall, Dutcher doubts that will be the case in Nebraska, as the steamy weather baked many of the state’s fields.
Dutcher says, “Most of the extreme heat that we experienced and the problems with this year’s corn crop really occurred during the month of June when we had temperatures moving well into the 90s and low 100s in the early part of June when we had not completely canopied our corn crop.”
One bonus was the heavy rains that fell during December on ground that wasn’t yet frozen. Dutcher says much of eastern Nebraska was able to soak in a good four to six inches of precipitation during the month, which proved to be very valuable months later.