Publication Date November 8, 2016

Toasty October Keeps U.S. on Track for 2nd-Hottest Year

United States
How temperatures across the U.S. differed from average from January-October 2016. Image: NOAA

The U.S. is still cruising toward its second-hottest year on record going back more than 120 years, with every state in the Lower 48, as well as Alaska, recording well above-average temperatures through October.

This October was the third warmest on record, and 37 states had one of their five warmest January-October periods in the books, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Tuesday.

Those elevated temperatures have exacerbated the drought that has taken hold in several areas, particularly in the Southeast.

The near-record U.S. heat comes amid a year that will easily be the hottest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing 2015. The excess heat trapped by ever-rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is tipping the scales in favor of more record heat.