The current drought in the Southwest is not drier or longer-lasting than historic episodes documented in tree rings, but the current dry conditions stand out from the historical record by being hotter, according to Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona.
The average global temperature for June 2012 was the fourth highest for any June since record keeping began in 1880. Land-only surface temperatures were the highest on record for the month. June 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive June and 328th consecutive month with a global temperature above the twentieth-century average. The last June with below-average global temperatures was June 1976.
In 2011, annual snow cover extent over Northern Hemisphere continents (including the Greenland ice sheet) averaged 24.7 million square kilometers, which is 0.3 million square kilometers less than the long-term average.