2012 warmest year on record for U.S., NOAA confirms - Morgan Hill Times: Community

2012 warmest year on record for U.S., NOAA confirms

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Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 3:42 pm

A record-warm spring, second-warmest summer, fourth-warmest winter and above-normal fall made 2012 the warmest year on record for the contiguous states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

It was a foregone conclusion well before the end of the year, with temperatures running above normal throughout the year. The official average temperature across the country was 55.3 degrees, 1 degree above 1998, the previous record-holder, and 3.2 degrees above the 20th-century average, NOAA said Tuesday.

Details in the NOAA report include:

• Each of the contiguous 48 U.S. states had an above-average temperature for the year.

• Each state except Washington had a location record its warmest year in 118 years.

• 19 states, from Utah to Massachusetts, posted a record-warm year.

• Since 1895, average temperatures have increased about 0.13 degrees each decade.

• 2012 was the 15th driest year on record.

Meanwhile, 2012 weather was notable for other reasons. The 19 named tropical cyclones meant a third consecutive year with an above-average Atlantic hurricane season.

A widespread drought affected 61 percent of the country at its peak in July, equaling the footprint of drought in the 1950s. The warm and dry conditions contributed to above-average wildfire activity, with 9.2 million acres burned, the third-most in 13 years of record-keeping.

Tornado activity, however, was abnormally low. The final 2012 tornado count is expected to be under 1,000, while the average from 1991-2010 is 1,200 per year.

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