To the surprise of absolutely no-one in North America, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that 2012 was officially the hottest year on record for the continental U.S. and had the second most extreme weather to boot:
Last year was officially the hottest ever recorded for the lower-48 states. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric tallied weather and temperature data for 2012, and found that the year was both the warmest and the second-most extreme for weather ever recorded for the contiguous U.S.
According to NOAA’s latest “State of the Climate” report, the average temperature for the lower-48 states was 55.3°, which is 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record-year of 1998.
Last year was marked by an historic drought, above-average wildfires, multiple freak storms that wiped out power to millions, and multiple severe heat waves. According to the U.S. Climate Extremes Index, 2012 was the second most extreme year on record — coming in below 1998, the previous hottest year on record.
Precipitation was also down significantly in 2012. Average rainfall for the lower-48 states was 2.57 inches below average, contributing to the severe drought that gripped the nation and helping make the wildfire season the third most destructive on record.
I wonder if 2012 will also make the last 12 years the 12 hottest ever recorded since temperature-keeping began in the 1800s.
But even then, I’m sure if the denialists throw up enough noise and fuss, the overwhelming evidence will all just magically go away and we’ll all be just fine without any need to take any real action to deal with the consequences of our society’s collective greed and complacency. (After all, that works for the ostriches, right?)