Scientists said the month of July brought record and near-record warmth to the Western United States and was the seventh warmest July in recorded Earth history.

But, paradoxically, the Eastern and Southern U.S. states experienced lower-than-average temperatures, said scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Below-average rainfall, combined with scorchingly high temperatures, helped put 46 percent of the contiguous states in some stage of drought by the end of July, resulting in numerous wildfires.

The global average temperature was the seventh warmest on record for July, and the presence of cooler-than-average waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific reflected the possible development of a La Nina episode, climatologists said.

Within the contiguous United States, July 2007 was the 15th warmest July since records began in 1895. But Florida was the only state warmer-than-average east of the Mississippi River.

The full NOAA report is available at
www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/r … /2007/jul/jul07.html

Copyright 2007 by United Press International