2012 hottest year on record, federal agency says
September 18th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

2012 hottest year on record, federal agency says

The first eight months of 2012 were the hottest ever recorded in the continental United States and the summer period of June, July and August was the third hottest ever, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday.

Although the August average of 74.4 degrees Fahrenheit made it only the 16th hottest August on record, the hottest July ever combined with the hottest spring on record to keep January-August 2012 atop the record books.

The nation as a whole is averaging 4 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the year. That's a full degree higher than the same period in 2006, the second hottest January-August on record.

Record keeping began in 1895.

The record warmth is a constant for from cities north to south, from Fargo, North Dakota, at 5.7 degrees F above average, to Tampa, Florida, at 2.2 degrees F above average. Green Bay, Wisconsin, posted the biggest difference to the average, 6.7 degrees F above.

The hottest temperature recorded for the month was 126 degrees F in Death Valley, California, recently recognized as the hottest place on Earth.

If you were looking colder than normal weather, the West Coast was the place to be. San Diego was .2 degrees F below normal for the year, San Francisco was 1 degree F below normal, Portland, Oregon, .7 degrees F below normal and Seattle, 1.1 degrees F below normal.

Outside the continental 48, Alaska and Hawaii temperatures were also below normal.

Meanwhile, drought conditions continued to affect a large chunk of the 48 states. The portion of the country experiencing exceptional drought, the worst level of drought, doubled in August to 6%, the NCDC reported. Overall, 39% of the country was in severe to extreme drought, "indicating that the drought has intensified," it said. Only the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s have been worse, the agency said.

Drought by the numbers

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Filed under: Heat • Weather
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. Ray

    Year isn't over yet. Jumping the gun a little.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rufus T. Firefly

    It's too bad that the scientific community is generally above it, because there needs to be a time when the grumbling rednecks, the anti-intellectuals, and the members of the Bush administration need to be lifted by the collars, thumped in the chest and told "We told you so."

    September 18, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • tv22

      But what does the article really say? It says that the first 8 months were the hottest eight months, on record, not in history. So after a cool August and now a cool September, and a couple of more cool months maybe it won't be the warmest year? And even if it is, it's the warmest year since 1895, not the warmest year ever. Maybe 1894 was even hotter, but we don't know, do we?

      September 18, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. chefschulz

    So, I see the looney crowd has chimed in..

    September 18, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RN

    Maybe you need to start taking your meds again.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Portland tony

    And then again, perhaps not.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Congo

    Well, it pretty much seems to me that last year was a lot more hotter than this year.

    And why is this even news. The year isn't even over with – stupid news.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Techno Viking

      really Congo, a lot more hotter? Great English. As far as it seeming hotter, depends where you are and your memory of last year. That's why daily readings like what the meteorologists record are so important. That's concrete evidence of what's going on, not subjective memory

      September 18, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Miyafuji

    And I've heard this quite earlier too. Must we repeat ourselves over again? Also wasn't 2011 also the hottest year, or was that some other recent year? Global warming at work.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Coop

    I think he's in the control group taking the placebo ...lol

    September 18, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Coop

    The swimsuit edition was definitely the hottest on record...

    September 18, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. yneemee

    Duh.. it is an election year, after all !!

    September 18, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. DandyStryker

    Don't believe in evolution. Think the world is just 6,000 years old. Illiterate. Poorly educated. That's a snapshot of your typical Global Warming denier.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ALesserGod

    The only morons are the people that don't understand how global warming works. The colder winters and hotter summers are what global warming produces. You thinking that because we have had record cold winters is not part of the problem is more moronic thinking. Try reading up on this before you write again.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Academic

    Actually, Barry's Brother, did you look at the author of the blog that you posted? First of all, it's a BLOG, not a peer-reviewed journal. Secondly, he candidly writes "World Climate Report, a concise, hard-hitting and scientifically correct response to the global change reports." I'd hardly call that source trustworthy.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Myke

    Global catastrophes mean we should account for global temperatures.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ashton67

    We don't have a Muslim President, we have a Christian President, it's the possibility of a Mormon President that the earth is trying to warn us about! Mormon's are offended by the Holy Cross of Jesus (no Crossses on or in Mormon temples) Mormon's find error in The Holy Bible and have written their own bible, The Book of Mormon and Mormon's do not believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY begotten Son of God. Yes, God is using the earth to tell us something alright!!

    September 18, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
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