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Science & Environment

Massachusetts Endured Hottest Summer on Record in 2020

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Liz Lerner
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Children keeping cool and eating ice cream at Megansett Beach in Falmouth.

Massachusetts just experienced its hottest summer on record, according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that looks at 126 years of historical data.

 

Similarly, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Arizona also endured their warmest recorded summers, contributing to the fourth-warmest summer in continental U.S. history. 

According to the report, the average temperature for the continental U.S, this summer was 73.6°F, 2.2 degrees above average.

 

“Above- to much-above-average year-to-date temperatures were observed across nearly the entire Lower 48,” the report said. 

 

The report also noted the summer precipitation total across the lower 48 states was roughly 8 inches, about a third of an inch below average. That placed the year “in the driest third of the historical record.”

 

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme heat events, which can exacerbate drought and increase the likelihood of wildfires. 

 

“According to the September 1 U.S. Drought Monitor report, approximately 39% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up almost seven percentage points from the end of July,” the report said.

 

In Massachusetts, the Baker administration has declared a significant drought in every region across the state. 

 

State officials continue to ask residents to conserve their water use: limit shower time and reduce outdoor watering.