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.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.