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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