The United States is on pace for the coldest year since 1993, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, though 2014 is still historically one of the more extreme in terms of climate.
That measurement, which also noted that July temperatures for the contiguous 48 states were the lowest since 2009, only takes surface temperatures into account. On the whole, the world is still warming, as ocean temperatures spiked in June to hit the warmest on record. Globally, 2014 is shaping up to be the warmest ever, with the past 352 months all clocking in higher than average, according to NOAA's records, which date to 1889.
A NOAA tool used to measure climate noted that despite the cool start to the year, the swings experienced amount to the seventh-most extreme year on record.
"The spatial extent of one-day precipitation extremes was the fifth highest on record, while the percent area of the contiguous U.S. in drought was also much above average," NOAA said. "The percent area of the country experiencing extremes in both warm and cool daytime and nighttime temperatures was also above average, reflecting the dominant warm-west/cold-east pattern entrenched throughout the year."
NOAA listed a number of July events that it said corresponded with a changing climate, including warm and dry conditions that fanned wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and an expansion of drought and the warmest July on record in California.
But 13 states stretching from the Midwest, through the Mississippi River Valley and to the Southeast experienced one of their 10 coolest July months ever, NOAA said. Precipitation provided drought relief in the central and southern plains — though that level of rainfall was still below historical averages.