SOURCE: Washington Post

DATE: September 6, 2018

SNIP: Americans seeking to cool off after long, hot days this summer found little relief in the dark of night. Windows were shut, and air-conditioners kept humming as low temperatures averaged over the nation were the warmest in over 120 years of records.

In its latest climate report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the hot nights pushed the average summer temperature to its fourth-warmest level on record, tied with 1934.

The average high temperature ranked 11th warmest in records that date back to 1895, but the average low was a record-warm, 2.5 degrees above average, and 0.1 degrees above the previous record in 2016.

As greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere keep increasing, overnight low temperatures are warming “nearly twice as fast as afternoon high temperatures,” according to NOAA. “[T]he 10 warmest summer minimum temperatures have all occurred since 2002,” NOAA wrote.

Such warm nights have important consequences. They increase heat stress on the homeless and those without air conditioning, which can lead to heat-related illness and death. At the same time, they require increased use of air-conditioning for those with access, which adds more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.