noaa 2012 hottest year on record
by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes, Environment.
Photo: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has gone ahead and confirmed the depressing obvious: 2012 was the hottest ever for the contiguous U.S.

The average temperature of 55.3 degrees beat the previous mark set in 1988 by a wide margin – with temperatures above normal in every month between June 2011 and September 2012; a 16-month stretch that hasn’t occurred since the government began keeping such records in 1895.

“The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation,” the report states. “The index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as landfalling tropical cyclones, was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998. To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley.”

Federal scientists are warning that future years will likely feature weather that is “hotter, drier and potentially more extreme.”

“Last year’s record temperature is ‘clearly symptomatic of a changing climate,’ Thomas R. Karl, who directs NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, told the Washington Post. Americans can now see the sustained warmth over the course of their own lifetimes — ‘something we haven’t seen before.’ He added, ‘That doesn’t mean every season and every year is going to be breaking all-time records, but you’re going to see this with increasing frequency.’ ”

Check out the full report here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • 2ndGreenRevolution Blog

    Not only may the US continue to suffer from more natural disasters, but the agricultural ramifications are huge. While the US Global Change Research Program says many crops grow better in environments with elevated carbon dioxide, it also says: “higher levels of warming often negatively affect growth and yields” and, “increased heat, disease, and weather extremes are likely to reduce livestock productivity.” Colder areas that are currently not fertile, however, could see a benefit.