It almost seems like a redundant headline at this point but again, Denver just had one of its hottest meteorological summers on record for the second year in a row.
Denver is hot in the summer. That’s not a surprise but the fact that we are seeing record heat year after year is something that you may need to accept as a new norm. Meteorological summers run from June 1 to August 31 and is a way to help organize weather data. Meteorologists and climatologists break the seasons down into groupings of three months based on the annual temperature cycle and season. Fall is September through November. Winter is December through February and Spring is March through May.
This meteorological summer was one of the hottest. Here are the numbers based on the average temperature of every day from June through August.
- 76.3 degrees – 2012
- 74.9 degrees – 2020
- 74.6 degrees – 2021
- 74.1 degrees – 1934
- 74.1 degrees – 1994
The only year hotter than this one was 2012. According to data compiled by ClimateCentral, an organization that researches and reports impacts of Climate Change, Denver is averaging 17 more days of 95 degree heat now than in 1970. Areas like Grand Junction are seeing 5 more days of intense heat and Colorado Springs is experiencing 19 more days of 95 degree heat than in 1970.
It may not shock you but 2021 has also produced a top number of days above 95 degrees. Here is a list of the top 5 years with the most summer days with 95 degree heat.
- 41 days – 2012
- 35 days – 2020
- 25 days – 2021
- 25 days – 2018
- 24 days – 2006
2021 and 2012 produced more days of intense heat than this year but that point it almost irrelevant because we’re just comparing the numbers this year to the last 15 years because that’s when all of these stats have come from. It’s also worth noting that having 20-25 days of intense heat used to be extreme. Now having 35-45 days of intense heat is extreme. A notable and suggestive trend.
Summer’s have warmed quite a bit since the 1970s. According to ClimateCentral, the average temperature during the summer has warmed by 2.6 degrees in Denver. In Colorado Spring, it has also warmed by 2.6 degrees and in Grand Junction, summers have warmed by 1.0 degree.
2021 has produced the third most number of 100 degree days. Only two years have had more days of 100 degree heat than this year – 2005 and 2012.
Unfortunately, the heat that we felt this meteorological summer helped to keep us dry. Although we had a wet end of winter and the beginning of spring, the over pattern the last several weeks has been hot and dry. This is Denver’s driest meteorological summer since 1940. Here are the top 5 driest summers on record.
- 0.77 inches – 1917
- 0.81 inches – 1924
- 1.08 inches – 1939
- 1.22 inches – 1940
- 1.45 inches – 2021
This is the rain total for all of June, July and August for the Denver area. The rainy start to the year definitely helped to offset drought conditions from forming for a long time but those kinds of conditions are beginning to pop up again.
Overall, the trend of summers getting hotter and drier was proven across the Denver area this year and it could be proved to us again in the coming years. The long-range forecasts that are currently issued for September show that we should have a pretty typical month temperature and precipitation-wise. The average temperature for September in Denver is about 63 degrees and the city normally sees just over an inch of rain during the month.
Fall is approaching and with that comes some cooler weather if you are over this heat. Overnight lows drop into the 40s by the end of the months while afternoon highs only get into the lower 70s.