It’s official, 2012 was the hottest year in the US ever on record. The combination of widespread drought and a mostly wild winter made the average US temperature climb to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit according to the The National Climatic Data Center. That is a full degree warmer than the oldest record set in 1998.
Normally, records are broken by a tenth of a degree or so. To have a full degree warmer is unheard of say scientists. Jake Crouch, a scientist with the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC released the official climate compilation on Tuesday. According to The New York Times Crouch said, “The heat was remarkable. It was prolonged. That we beat the record by one degree is quite a big deal.”
The US had 34,008 new daily highs last year compared with only 6,664 new record lows reports The New York Times.
Scientist say the high temperatures are due partly to global warming and natural weather variations. According to Yahoo News, Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University said the drought that struck almost two-thirds of the country and a LA Nina weather event helped increase temperatures. She also said climate change from man mad greenhouse gas emissions also pushed the temperatures higher. She added that temperature increases are happening faster than scientists predicted,
Last year was 3.2 degrees warmer than the average for the entire 20th century. July was the hottest month on record. Nineteen states set yearly high records. Only Alaska was cooler than average.
According to Yahoo News, Andrew Dessler, a Texas A&M University climate scientist said:
“A picture is emerging of a world with more extreme heat. Not every year will be hot, but when heat waves do occur, the heat will be more extreme. People need to begin to prepare for that future.”
Although the National Climatic Data Center’s figures won’t come out until next week the world is predicted to have its eighth warmest year on record.