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Eric Young’s Blog

Media Coverage of 'The Worst Summer Ever?'

Eric Young

Posted September 21, 2010

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On September 16, NRDC released the report 'The Worst Summer Ever?' which outlined the dark side of this past summer's record-high temperatures. While the record-high day-time  temperatures received a lot of coverage throughout June, July and August, there was a critical element to the heat-waves that was ignored: record-setting high night-time temperatures. These pose special dangers to elderly and low-income Americans who are more dependent on overnight cooling during the hottest months. This report laid out just how dangerous this summer's heat-waves were. Below is a sample of the media coverage around the report.

USA TODAY:  Summer set records for nighttime temperatures

This past summer didn't set U.S. records for just daytime temperatures but also for nighttime ones, posing a danger to the elderly and low-income people who depend on overnight cooling, a new study reveals.

At nearly one of four U.S. weather stations -- 278 out of 1,218 -- the average nighttime low temperatures for June, July and August were hotter than at any time since 1895, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. Record highs were set at stations in 37 states, including 40% of all those east of the Mississippi.

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WASHINGTON POST:  Warm nights fuel summer heat records - Md., Va. stations record hottest summer on record

As we approach the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22, it's time for one final look at just how hot it was this past summer in the D.C. area and beyond. We've already reported that the meteorological summer of 2010 -- June, July and August -- was the hottest on record in Washington, and that Baltimore broke its record for the most 90+ degree days in a single year.

Now comes word from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group, that out of the 1,218 weather stations in the contiguous United States that are part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Historical Climatology Network (HCN), 153 recorded their hottest summer on record, and nearly one in three stations recorded average temperatures among their five hottest on record. Furthermore, the new report states that nearly one in four weather stations in the HCN had their hottest average nighttime lows ever recorded.

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DETROIT NEWS:  Michigan sees one of hottest summers ever

With this week's temperatures hovering in the 60s and 70s, it may be hard to remember how hot Michigan's 2010 summer was.

But you should, because it was close to record-setting in many regions -- both during the day and at night.

A new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that areas all over the country posted average temperatures in June, July and August that neared or matched historical levels. And high temperatures during the day led to even more regions posting historically high overnight temperatures.

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BALTIMORE SUN: Summer's record-hot nights a climate-change harbinger?

The record heat we experienced this summer carried over into the nights as well, it seems. Environmentalists are pointing to that as a harbinger of what they call the "dark side" of impending climate change.

In Maryland, 12 of 16 weather stations in the Historical Climatology Network reported their nighttime low temperatures this summer were the highest ever recorded, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And the other four stations in the state reported their average lows after dark were among their five warmest.   To see the Maryland data, go here.

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CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER:  Despite record-hot year (so far) in Cleveland, winter forecast still anybody's guess

That sums up both Cleveland's record heat -- 2010 is so far the hottest year in more than a century of climate statistics -- and captures our annual big-freeze question about Lake Erie each fall.

Has 2010 really been so hot that the changeable lake to our north might not freeze over this winter? And won't that lead to one of those woeful, lake-effect snow-filled winters?

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SCIENCE: Record Hot Summer Wreaks Havoc

According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the first 8 months of 2010 is the warmest such January-to-August period in climate records stretching back 131 years. This period was nearly 0.7˚C warmer than the average temperature from 1951 to 1980. (NOAA announced roughly the same finding today, using many of the same temperature stations but a different analysis method.) Scorching summer temperatures set records across the United States, and nighttime temperatures hit record highs in 37 U.S. states this summer, the Natural Resources Defense Council will announce in a new report tomorrow.

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HUFFINGTON POST:  The Precautionary Principle

Every Republican running for the U.S. Senate in November believes either that human activity is not the driving force behind global warming or that the planet isn't even heating up, according to a recent survey.

Their skepticism abounds despite a study by the respected public interest group known as the Natural Resources Defense Council that found night time temperatures in 37 states to be the highest on record this summer. So what, you say? Well, what about the most devastating floods in memory in Pakistan, and the record breaking unbearable summer heat in such diverse locations as New York City and Moscow?

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Metro West Daily News (MA) and Milford Daily News (MA) Editorial:  Sleepless Nights

Every summer has a few nights when the temperature never really drops, even far from the city streets, nights when the heat and humidity make it difficult to sleep. If you think this summer has had more of these nights than usual, you're right.

According to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Massachusetts set a new record for average nighttime temperatures this summer - and so did 36 other states.

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SENIORS DAILY ONLINE:  Record US night temperatures seen as threat to elderly

(Special)—While many Americans focused on the summer’s day-time record-setting temperatures, the Natural Resources Defense Council has expressed concern about the largely ignored pattern of record-setting nighttime temperatures.

High overnight temperatures are seen as posing special dangers to elderly and low-income people, who are more dependent on overnight cooling during the hottest months.

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To read the full report:

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