July 2009 US cold records

Oh, the humanity.

As if global warming proponents don't have enough to worry about already, with Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Fox News and the Heartland Institute, now Mother Nature has thrown them yet another curve: July 2009 was officially the coldest July on record in six U.S. states, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Specifically, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Not one of the coldest, mind you, but the absolute, rock-bottom, chilliest on record. Records go back to 1895. Meanwhile, four others - Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kentucky - had their 2nd-coldest July ever recorded.

What does this mean for global warming? Does this confirm it's a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi? Well, Fox News ran a headline last week that the cold summer is putting a damper on global warming fears. Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute is sponsoring another conference next May in Chicago.

But "Whoa Nellie" as Keith Jackson used to say. While the Northeast USA was indeed chilling out in July, take a look at these statistics, courtesy of the University of Alabama - Huntsville: For the world as a whole, July was the 2nd-warmest ever recorded, the Southern Hemisphere had its 2nd-warmest month ever (compared to seasonal norms), and it was the 2nd-warmest month ever recorded in Antarctica (again compared to seasonal norms).

Lower Troposphere July 2009 temperatures
© University of Alabama HuntsvilleGlobal temperature anomalies are shown in July. Blue indicates locations that were cooler than average, while orange and red indicate areas that were warmer than average.

Gulp. But before y'all get your dander in an uproar, consider the source for the July heat data: Not some liberal hothouse like Greenpeace, but two of the most well-known and respected climate change semi-skeptics, John Christy and Roy Spencer.

According to Christy, the global average temperature jumped 0.41 Celcius from June to July, the largest one-month jump in the 31-year global temperature record. The global average went from normal in June to the second-hottest July on record.

"Part of that is an artificial artifact of where we put the calendar boundaries," Christy said in an e-mail. "Warmth from the new El Nino was not felt at all in June but really got going almost from the first day of July."

So while El Nino certainly contributed to the spike in global temperatures, no previous El Nino had ever warmed the Earth to that degree, indicating that some other forces are at play.

If you look at the world temperature map they provided (above), notice that of all the land areas on the planet Earth, the one spot that had the coldest July was the northern and central USA. Freakishly, and unfortunately for Al Gore, no other spot had as cold a July.

So while it may have been cold in your backyard in July, remember that the USA takes up just a small percentage of the Earth's surface.

Meanwhile, onward to August!