Last month was the hottest September in Texas ever, according to new state figures released this week by the Office of the Texas State Climatologist.
John Nielsen-Gammon is Texas’ state climatologist, and a regents professor at Texas A&M University. He says 40% of Texas cities had record-high temperatures.
“Average temperature was 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which was almost a degree warmer than the previous record,” Nielsen-Gammon says.
The last time September was this hot was back in 1911. And the hottest places this September were in the Panhandle. A lack of cold fronts contributed to the heat this year, and back in 1911. But the difference this year was that the preceding months, July and August, were particularly dry.
“While we were turning warm and staying warm, we were also experiencing some short-term drought conditions,” Nielsen-Gammon says.
A hot September, alone, doesn’t indicate climate change, but he says it’s part of a larger warming trend. Average temperatures in Texas have gone up by 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit, he says, compared to last century’s average.
“One event is weather; you have to look at the big picture,” Nielsen-Gammon says. “Climate change [alone] didn’t make September hot, but it made it about a degree or two hotter than it would have been otherwise.”
Written by Caroline Covington.