July 2012's average temperature of 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit for the continental United States beat the previous record holder, July 1936, by one fifth of a degree, reports the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration.
Several factors, including La Niña events, have contributed to the expanded drought, meteorologists say. Conditions in the West may be setting up for a 'megadrought' by century's end, researchers warn.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center were unable to assure growers that there is an end to the drought in sight. In the meantime, grain prices have skyrocketed.
The United States is posting rapid growth in the waste of natural gas in new oil fields where the fuel is either burned or vented into the atmosphere. Experts say the process damages the environment and fails to maximize the return to investors.