Even If It Gets Wacky Cold, 2012 Will Still Set Record Heat

Crazy climate events, August 2012: NOAA | National Climate Data CenterCrazy climate events, August 2012: NOAA | National Climate Data Center

The year so far—January to August—now ranks as the warmest on record in the US, says NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

  • The national temperature of 58.7°F was an insane 4.0°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record warm of 2006.
  • Thirty-three states were record warm Jan-Aug this year and an additional 12 states were top ten warm. Only Washington state had temperatures near average for the period.
  • January-August 2012 was also the 14th driest period on record for the lower 48 states with a precipitation total 1.90 inches below the average of 20.20 inches.
  • Drier-than-average conditions stretched across the country. Ten states had year-to-date precip totals among their ten driest.

The US Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) value for January-August was a record large 47 percent: more than twice the average value. Which beat the previous record of 46 percent set only last year. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures and warm nighttime temperatures contributed to the record high USCEI value.

As Wunderblog’s Jeff Masters writes:

Temperatures this year in the US have been so far above the previous record… that even if the remainder of 2012 ranks historically in the coldest one-third of September-Decembers on record, 2012 will beat out 1998 for the warmest year in history. Reliable weather records for the US go back to 1895.

To put this in a global perspective, check out Kate Sheppard’s posted video: The Warming World in Less Than 30 Seconds.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate