09 Jan 2013:
U.S. Heat Record Was
Shattered in 2012, NOAA Reports
Last year was by far the warmest year in U.S. history, with the average temperature in the contiguous states climbing a full degree higher than the previous high and every state recording above-average annual temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In
its annual State of the Climate Report, NOAA said the average temperature during the year was 55.3 degrees F, about 3.2 degrees warmer than the 20th century average and 1 degree warmer than the previous high, recorded in 1998. While the record annual numbers were driven largely by a historically warm spring — including an unprecedented March heat wave in some regions — the U.S. also experienced its second-warmest summer on record, its fourth-warmest winter, and a fall that was also warmer than average, according to NOAA scientists. In addition, NOAA scientists called 2012 “the second most extreme year on record,” with nearly unprecedented extremes in temperature, precipitation, and tropical cyclones. According to the report, 11 natural disasters each caused more than $1 billion in damages in 2012, including Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf Coast, Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast, and devastating tornadoes in the Great Plains, Texas, and the Ohio Valley. NOAA said that 356 weather stations in the Lower 48 states recorded record high temperatures, while only four stations recorded record lows.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.