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Centennial State lags global rise in temperature but all but one month of the last year have exceeded long-term averages


June was a hot month in Colorado, among the two or three hottest Junes ever recorded.

Temperatures for the state didn’t top those of June 2012, a very notable one with attendant repercussions for river flows on the Western Slope. But on July 1, with records still being tabulated, Russ Schumacher, the state climatologist, said that June ranked either second or third among records that go back to the 1880s. He expects to have the definitive report filed soon.

The heat of June came after a comparatively cool May. It was close to the long-term average across much of Colorado, but cooler than average across northwestern Colorado.

The 10 months prior to May, however, had all been warmer than the 20th century average.

You can study the precise temperature rankings for each month in Colorado (and every other state) at this website maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Colorado’s coolish May and barn-burner June come even as NASA warns of a climate crisis after an unprecedented 12 months of record highs. Each of the 12 months had a global high.

The last 10 consecutive years have been the warmest 10 since record-keeping began in the late 19th century.

“We’re experiencing more hot days, more hot months, more hot years,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor. “We know that these increases in temperature are driven by our greenhouse gas emissions and are impacting people and ecosystems around the world.”

Schumacher, a professor at Colorado State University, said the really extreme warmth during the last year or so has been over the oceans.

“Colorado and the western US have been warmer than average over the last year or so but not breaking records like the globe as a whole,” he told Big Pivots.

NASA has put together a visualization of the rise in global temperatures that might fascinate you – or leave you unsettled. See that visualization here.

Top photo Palisade peaches ripening on the vine on June 5, 2024. Photo/Allen Best

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