Global warming is directly linked to only a few weather events and climate trends. One of them, however, is warming itself, which could make 2012 a watershed climate change year in the U.S. More than superstorms, wildfires, and devastating drought, this year’s record-smashing spring and summer heat waves, with their melted airport runways and warped steel rail lines, are more evidence that climate change is real.
Last week NOAA announced that 2012 was “likely” to be the warmest year on record in the 48 states, based on temperatures through November. At some point, however, likelihood turns into certainty. Does a warm December push the nation to the point where it is impossible for 2012 to be anything but the warmest year ever recorded in the U.S.?
To answer that question Climate Central did the math, and the results are in.
- There is a 99.99999999 percent chance that 2012 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental 48 states, based on our analysis of 118 years of temperature records through Dec. 10, 2012.
By taking the top spot as the hottest year in the U.S., 2012 pushes 1998 into second place, followed by 2006, 1934 and 1999. In line with the global warming trend spurred by steadily rising carbon emissions, seven of the top 10 warmest years in the 48 states have occurred in the past 15 years.
Like so much recent record-breaking weather, 2012 isn’t just going to break the previous record, 2012 is looking to smash it, by more than 1°F. Climate Central projects the 2012 average temperature for the continental U.S. at 55.34°F compared to the previous record set in 1998 of 54.32°F. For perspective, 1°F is one quarter of the difference between the coldest and warmest years ever recorded in the continental U.S.
(Click here to read the rest of the summary.)
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2012 Hottest U.S. Year Ever
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