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Sacramento’s summers aren’t the hottest on Earth – but could they be the sunniest?

Record heat might be passing, but it left its mark in Sacramento

Sacramento's high temperature reached 108 degrees Thursday, June 22, 2017, breaking the previous maximum for June 23 of 107 set in 1971. Along Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento around 2 p.m. a bank digital thermometer already registered 104 degr
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Sacramento's high temperature reached 108 degrees Thursday, June 22, 2017, breaking the previous maximum for June 23 of 107 set in 1971. Along Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento around 2 p.m. a bank digital thermometer already registered 104 degr

The recent heat wave has been more than just an increase in sweating Sacramentans. Air conditioner malfunctions have turned into emergencies. Dogs have died.

Still, this isn’t the desert, so even after the thermometer hit 108 degrees Thursday, our summers will – hopefully – never reach the 118+ degree marks that are melting parts of Arizona and Death Valley.

Though they’re not the hottest, the sun almost always beats down and cloudy days are rare.

In fact, are Sacramento’s summers the sunniest of any city ... in the world? Meteorological data suggests that was the case in the 20th century, and it still might be.

Using data from 1961 to 1990, the World Meteorological Organization measured average hours of sunshine for cities around the world. For June, July, August and September, Sacramento came out on top, averaging more than 13 hours of sunshine per day during the first three of those months.

Weather and science website Current Results interpreted the WMO data, claiming, “During July, Sacramento achieves the sunniest month for any city on earth with an average of 14 hours and 12 minutes a day, accounting for 98 percent of its daylight time.”

Sacramento even topped Yuma, Ariz., the sunniest city overall year-round, during the summer months.

We’re sunnier than average for the whole year, as well. National Centers for Environmental Information used 46 years of data to determine that Sacramento is 10th among major cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in terms of annual percentage of average possible sunshine at 78 percent.

Among 175 cities on the list, two other California cities landed in the top 10 – Redding (88 percent) at No. 2 and Fresno (79 percent) at No. 7. Yuma topped the list with 90 percent sunshine and at the bottom was Juneau, Alaska (30 percent).

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