2012 Is The Warmest Year Ever Recorded in United States, Officials Say

The first half of 2012 was announced to be the warmest period on record for the contiguous U.S.

The United States has experienced the warmest 12 months since 1895, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Monday. Photo: Kevin Ryan/Flickr

The national average temperature reached 52.9 degrees — “4.5 degrees above the long-term average,” NOAA said in a statement.

“Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the six-month period, except the Pacific Northwest.” East of the Rockies, 28 states were “record warm,” NOAA said.

According to the organization, the last months were also registered as the hottest 12-month period on record in the contiguous U.S., narrowly surpassing the mark set last month, MSN News reports.

Meteorologists say that the hot temperatures are not expected to ease soon. “It looks like it’s going to stay above normal, for much of the remainder of the summer,” said Jon Gottschalck at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

In the second half of the previous month, 170 all-time temperature records were matched in cities across the lower 48 states.

The U.S. State Climate Extremes Committee is currently examining whether 113-degree recordings in South Carolina and 112-degree temperatures in Georgia qualify as all-time records in those two states.

“There are a lot of things going on that have been very unusual over the last several months,” said Dev Niyogi, earth and atmospheric sciences professor at Purdue University.

The situation might be cause by an outbreak of large wildfires in Colorado, which had its warmest June ever, explains NOAA.

“Most of that state is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, which is also true in places as far afield as Arizona and Georgia, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, run out of the University of Nebraska,” reports CNN.

This problem is typical one for Indiana, where Niyogi is the state climatologist and where the National Weather Service claims that conditions in central and southern parts of the region “resemble the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.”

Niyogi said it is “very hard to root out” the impact of short-term weather patterns and longer-term trends in creating conditions recorded over a given stretch, such as the period June 2011 – June 2012 measured by NOAA.

However, the expert continued, “They’re all tied together” and can contribute to major issues, pointing specifically to the interdependent relationship between heat and drought.”

“That is an intriguing and fairly dangerous kind of event that obviously has affects on humans,” he added, meaning drought.

The average temperature for the mainland in the previous month was 71.2 degrees what is 2 degrees above the 20th-century average. It was the 14th warmest June on record.

As NOAA noted, 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest ever, based on global surface temperatures.

By the way, a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims that “climate change has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation in the past half-century.”

In addition to this, last week damaging winds struck Fredericksburg, Virginia, and destroyed a building, injuring two people, reported the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

“It has been a tough few weeks for many Virginians,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said late Sunday.

“They have suffered from record-breaking temperatures and an historic storm that brought widespread damage and power outages. Now, many have lost power again. I ask Virginians to remain patient and to continue to help each other get through this latest storm.”

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