The Earth is hot but we’re not

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:41 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The United Nations says Earth just had its hottest three months on record. However, Watertown just had its third coldest summer in 130 years.

June, July and August of 2023 are the hottest three months on record for Earth. Places like Phoenix, Arizona had at least 55 days where the thermometer was above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it was just the opposite for the north country.

“There was a big heat dome over the central part of the U.S. that was just keeping all those really hot sweltering temperatures there. The jet stream was going around that, and let the cool air come down into where we were. So we got those cooler temperatures,” said Jessica Spaccio, a climatologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

In Watertown in August, a normal high temperature is 78.7 degrees. This year, the average was 73.8 degrees, making it Watertown’s second coldest August since 1893.

As for June, July and August combined, Watertown saw its third coldest summer.

“This doesn’t really have any long-term implications. This was just kind of the pattern we got stuck in for this summer, and really no indications for other years going forward,” said Spaccio.

Lowville for the 3-month time period was right around a normal temperature. Massena was a degree under normal.

Who can this cooler summer help? Farmers.

“The cool wet summer has been generally pretty good for crops. We’re trying to hope for some decent weather here at the end for them to get finished off. The greater concerns are when we get a killing frost, but if we keep on with the cooler wet conditions it’s going to make it challenging for getting other crops harvested,” said John Peck, owner of Peck Homestead Farms.

For some, the summer of 2023 leaves something to be desired.

“It’s been a weird summer. It started out it was hot, and then it rained and rained and rained a lot. Now, we’re back to summer this year even though it’s supposed to be fall,” said Jim Ellis, Watertown resident.

“It was not a summer that we could even plan on going on camping trips or anything because we didn’t know what the weather was going to be like,” said Sharon Ellis, Watertown resident.

Scientists point out there’s a strong El Niño weather pattern right now in the Pacific Ocean helping the Earth heat up. That pattern is expected to continue into 2024.