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The numbers are in … and they’re hot (2012 US Climate conditions)

January 8th, 2013 · 3 Comments

The U.S. Climate Extremes Index was just released.  While it should surprise no one who lived through it and/or is somehow connected to reality, here is the NOAA (summaryfull report) headline/conclusion:

2012 was warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.

2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average

Thus, 2012 marked

  • the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States
    • a record warm spring,
      • The season’s temperature was 5.2°F above average, making it easily the warmest spring on record, surpassing the previous record by 2.0°F.
    • second warmest summer,
      • The national-scale heat peaked in July with an average temperature of 76.9°F,
        • 3.6°F above average, making it
        • the hottest month ever observed for the contiguous United States.
      • The eighth warmest June, record hottest July, and a warmer-than-average August resulted in a summer average temperature of 73.8°F, the second hottest summer on record by only hundredths of a degree.
      • An estimated 99.1 million people experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100°F, nearly one-third of the nation’s population.
    • fourth warmest winter and a
    • warmer-than-average autumn.
  • The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F
    • 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and
    • 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.
  • Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012.
    • Nineteen states had a record warm year, and
    • An additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.
  • The  15th driest year on record for the nation
    • At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation
    • The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West,
      • charring 9.2 million acres—the third highest on record.
    • The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 26.57 inches was 2.57 inches below average and the 15th driest year on record for the lower 48.
      • This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988 when 25.25 inches of precipitation was observed.
    • The driest conditions during 2012 occurred across the central United States.
      • Two states, Nebraska and Wyoming, had their driest years on record.
      • Eight additional states had annual precipitation totals ranking among the bottom ten.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation.
    • The index was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998.
    • 2012 saw 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.

And, with this in mind, our political system and “The Village” is dominated by Climate Silence and a conspiracy to focus on the Fiscal Cliff molehill rather than deal with the Climate Cliff fissure.

It is past time for action.

Related: MMfA: STUDY: Warmest Year On Record Received Cool Climate Coverage E.g., “The Village”‘s climate silence in data.

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Tags: climate change

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