June was a scorcher in the Western U.S.

Grist

The U.S. West is still baking. The temperatures for June are in and five Western states saw their warmest June ever (helping to make the month the second warmest June for the contiguous U.S.), and four continue to see their warmest year-to-date, just as 2015 hits the halfway mark.

In drought-plagued California, “we’re beating the record set just last year” and “not by a razor thin margin,” Daniel Swain, a PhD student at Stanford University, said.

The huge area of considerable warmth in the Pacific Ocean that has been hanging around for two years now is one of the main drivers for the sultry western weather, and is getting a boost from the very healthy El Niño event that looks to be in place through the end of the year.

These forces are also acting on the background warming that results from the extra heat trapped in the…

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