State of the Climate, a report issued yesterday by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, confirmed that the year 2012 was the warmest on record for the contiguous U.S. The average temperature was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average and 1.0°F above the previous record set in 1998. The first 8 months of the year were all warmer than normal; the last four months were still warm enough for 2012 to remain the record warmest year.
Check out this site for a wealth of statistics on a variety of subjects from average precipitation (2.57 inches below average for last year) to extreme weather (2012 was the second most extreme year on record). A map clearly illustrates that not a single state had an average temperature cooler than usual.
The only good news to come of this is a new conviction among former doubters that climate change is real. AP Science writer Seth Borenstein summarized the results of a December 2012 poll saying, “Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it.” Follow-up interviews of the respondents suggest that personal experience has played a role in this change of attitude.