Hot August nights set record
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Coming off one of the warmest Julys since Aspen began keeping computerized records, the resort this year saw its hottest August nights since at least 1992, when the record keeping began.
Average nighttime temperatures in August topped 50 degrees for the first time, according to weather records kept by the city’s water department.
In addition, daytime temperatures in August were close to the warmest for the month since 1992, according to Lee Cassin, the city’s environmental health director.
Looking back further, Aspen experienced overnight lows in August 2007 that were 4.4 degrees warmer than the average recorded in town during that month between 1961 and 2000, she said. Daytime temperatures in August were 3.7 degrees warmer than the average for that time period.
An annual average of 6 degrees is the difference between the climate in Aspen and the climate in Los Alamos, N.M., she noted.
August in Aspen followed a July that was the third warmest over the last 16 years. Overnight lows in July were 2.4 degrees warmer than the historical average, while daytime highs were 5 degrees warmer.
The rising temperatures are consistent with what scientists predict as a result of global warming, according to Cassin.
“You can never say, in one town, in one month, the data proves anything in terms of global warming,” she said. “We’re just tending to have more warmer-than-average months than we did [previously]. You can’t say it proves global warming, but you can say it’s consistent with what the global-warming models predict.”
Nationally, August was the second warmest on record in the continental United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Cassin has yet to analyze September’s numbers in comparison to prior years, but records kept by the water department indicate last month’s average temperature in Aspen was 56.1 degrees. The average high was 71.3 degrees, while the average low was 40.8 degrees.
The month’s warmest temperatures came early, on Sept. 3 and 4, at 81 degrees; the low was 25 degrees on Sept. 30.
Precipitation for the month was above average, at 2.5 inches, but what fell as snow (0.3 inches) was below average, according to the water department.
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Local fire officials in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties are heightening their fire concerns, and starting this week Stage 1 fire restrictions will be enacted. Stage 1 means no campfires in undeveloped sites, no fireworks and no smoking outside unless it’s in an area cleared of all combustible materials.