Changing Climate

The US Just Had Its Hottest Summer Ever — Beating Out 1936 Dust Bowl

This summer narrowly topped the previous record set by the Dust Bowl summer of 1936, when huge portions of the West and Great Plains were parched by severe drought

(Olivier Douliery /AFP/Getty Images)

The United States had its hottest summer on record this year, narrowly edging out the previous milestone that was set 85 years ago during the Dust Bowl.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that the average temperature this summer for the contiguous U.S. was 74 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.6 degrees warmer than the long-term average. The heat record caps off a season full of extremes, with parts of the country experiencing persistent drought, wildfires, record-breaking heat waves, hurricanes and other extreme weather exacerbated by climate change.

A new report published by the U.N.-appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a grim picture of the global climate crisis. Here are five takeaways from the report.

Though this year's summer was technically hotter than 1936, the very small gap puts the two years "neck and neck," in what NOAA called a "virtual tie."

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