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Report: Warmest June on record globally

July 19, 2010
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Article written by Angela Fritz, CNN Meteorologist. Access the article at CNN.com

(CNN) — Last month was the warmest June on record worldwide, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Warmer-than-average conditions were present across nearly all continents, including much of the United States, according to the organization’s State of the Climate report, released Friday.

Although global sea surface temperatures ranked the fourth-warmest on record, the combination of land and sea anomalies pushed June 2010 past June 2005, previously the warmest June on record, the report said. June was also the fourth consecutive month in a row of record warmth worldwide.

Meanwhile, wetter-than-average conditions were present in southern India, southern China, southern Europe and the U.S. Midwest, the report said. In contrast, southwest Australia is experiencing record-setting rainfall deficiencies, with the lowest rainfall on record for the first half of the year, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau reported that all states and territories in Australia experienced drier-than-average conditions in June.

June also marked a record low in Arctic sea ice — the 19th June in a row the sea ice has been below average.

“This is important, because sea ice reflects incoming solar radiation back to space,” said CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward. “Without the normal extent of sea ice in the Arctic, we can expect more radiation to be absorbed into the ocean, leading to more melting. It’s what we call a ‘positive feedback.'” The amount of sea ice in the Arctic has been steadily declining since 1990.

Warmer-than-average temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, also known as El Nino, have been contributing to the warmth. La Nina conditions — cooler-than-average temperatures in the same region — are beginning to set in, which could prevent more monthly records from being set. However, La Nina combined with record-setting warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures is expected to fuel an active Atlantic hurricane season.

The announcement of June’s record-setting warmth comes during a period of extreme heat in the United States and Europe. Excessive heat warnings have been topping weather headlines in the United States for more than two weeks now, and Europe has been shattering temperature records as well, with a heat wave through the first half of July. Eastern Europe has seen the most significant temperatures, although much of the continent has experienced above-average heat.

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