Western Wisconsin (WQOW) - With an mean temperature of 76.9 degrees, July 2012 is now the fifth warmest July since 1895. It is the second warmest July since 1950, when record keeping began at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.
"On average, July is our warmest month in western Wisconsin," said News 18 Meteorologist Nick Grunseth. "Ideally, when the month is completed and we average all the highs and lows, we should see a mean temperature around 71 or 72 degrees. This past month, our mean temperature was almost 77 degrees.
Grunseth says a large ridge of high pressure remained stationary over the middle and eastern United States. This pattern allowed warmer air and more moisture to move in from the south. Conversely, the far western U.S. was below average. Las Vegas, NV and Portland, OR have reported July mean temperatures one degree below normal.
"I think moisture, the added humidity, has a lot to do with our warmth," said Grunseth. "Sure, we experience warm daytime highs, but overnight lows were warm too because of higher dewpoints. It seemed every day, we got a big head start."
July 2012 will also hit the books as the 14th driest since 1895. Only 1.60" of rain fell at the airport. In 1936, only 0.12" fell during the month.
While the overall weather pattern is extreme, Grunseth says not to jump to any conclusions.
"The last several years, there has been a lot of worthy discussion about climate change," he said. "Yes, it is a fact the Earth has warmed over the last 100 years. But one cannot associate one extreme event with climate change. For example, July 2006 was the warmest since 1950. Three years later, in July 2009, we never hit 90 degrees, and we recorded an overnight low of 45 degrees. 'Climate' involves hundreds and thousands of years, not just one month or one year."
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