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. Common Sense

    Since record keeping began in 1890...yawn

    September 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Solar Energy Saves Lives

    No worries.

    I'm sure there will be a huge food shortage.

    I've been practicing my taste for human flesh by cannabalizing illegal mexicans a few times a year.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sss

    Blame it on Obama, like everything else.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. JR

    The source of all the extreme heat has been traced to all the bs piled up around the WH

    September 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Believe in Nothing

    Anyone who thinks that slightly over 100 years of recording temps has any bearing on the history of a planet that is MILLIONS of years old is a complete i d i o t.

    Of course why would Al Gore and the scientist lie, it not like they have anything to gain accept Billions and Billions of dollars in reseach money just so they can keep their jobs.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Primewonk

      Except, of course, we have 800,000 years of ice core data showing global temps and atmosphere composition.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldJoe

      There's a BIG difference between the so-called Global Warming and CLIMATE CHANGE.
      Besides, hotter weather = less crops = less people = less CO2.
      Problem solved.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Primewonk

    In many previous warming/cooling cycles the rate and degree of change were such that a majority of species of bacteris, fungi, plants, and animals were able adapt to changes in their ecological niches. Those that couldn't, died off. In mass extinction events, the changes were way too rapid and whole classes went extinct.

    We have already seen evidence that some species are not able to adapt as fast as the climate is changing incertain areas.

    Of course, the nutters who claim evolution is a lie, are the same ones who claim ACC is a lie.

    Why am I not surprised?

    September 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Dave

    Right wing loons that don't believe in science but do believe in imaginary ghosts that watch over us will never understand the difference between 'weather' and 'climate'.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Believe in Nothing

      And yet you Left Wing loons believe in "magic space dust" that somehow formed life from nothing and ask any left wing loon if they believe in little green men and 99% will answer yes.

      Even when there is about as much evidence of their of them as there is god... meaning NONE.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldJoe

      dave,
      ...will never understand the difference between 'weather' and 'climate'...

      Right. Difference between "Global Warming" and "CLIMATE CHANGE".
      What is it that you don't understand?

      September 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jdmeaux

    I suspect it was from all the hot air coming from Washington, DC, not to help people or the planet. But just to ramble on.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. pbernasc

    Here let the ignorant in denial delusional GOP voters go for the hoax theory and bashing of science and technology .. even though they don't know that they would not be able to make a single phone call with their fancy iPhone if it wasn't for science.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ck

      Yep. Get your science from science news sources – not political news sources. (e.g. Scientific America, Discover etc...)

      September 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • scieng1

      The GOP supports actual science. The libs support a religion they call science, but refuse to allow scientific analysis and decision making. As a scientist, only the GOP offers any hope for a scientific approach to modern challenges.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Williams

      """The GOP supports actual science."""

      Unbelievable.

      No, really. No one believes you. What other false beliefs do you cling to? I'm curious.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • angryersmell

      @scieng1 – A scientific approach to modern challenge = how many inner tubes will it take to float my house after the ice caps melt?

      September 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tad Bemenista

      The GOP supports science? What? Riiiiiiiiiiiight. You're being tongur-in-cheek, right?

      September 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark T?

      Who cares. Being from the north I welcome the warming and am looking to import palm trees from the south before the ocean overtakes them.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Duh! Do you think? Open your eyes people.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rusty Shakelford

    I say let it heat up, then we'll grow oranges in Alaska.

    September 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Primewonk

      Not nearly that simple. Evolution is largely symbiotic. It's not just temperature, but humidity, length of days, temperature cycles from day to night, soil composition etc. An organisim has to adapt to the ecological niche it inhabits.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark T?

      Primewonk has yet to adapt.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peter

    Phineas J. Whoopee, you're the greatest!

    September 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. birdfish

    THIS GLOBAL WARMING IS NOTHING CLOSE TO THE TRUTH AT ALL AS IT IS A TRUE FACT THAT JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR IS THE GOD OF ALL THE WEAHTERS AND THAT THE CONTROL OF THE WEATHER AND OF THE UNIVERSE IS UNDER HIS CONTROL NOT THE CONTROL OF MAN THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL WARMING AND IT IS OF THE DEVIL AND WRONG AND FALSE TEACHINGS OF THE EVIL ONE WHO IS CALLED SATAN AND THIS IS ALSO A FACT ALL THESE SO CALLED SCIENTISTS ARE DECEIVED BY THE EVIL ONE AND WILL SURELY BE TOSSED INTO HELL IF THEY DO NOT GET DOWN ON THERE KNEES AND PRAY FOR FORGIVENESS AND THIS IS ALSO A TRUE AND TOTAL FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob

      "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." What this means birdfish, is that according to the bible (matthew 6), you have lost your reward in heaven because of your post. nice going!

      September 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • meemee

      birdfish definition of fact; Anything I claim as a true believer.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      I do hope you end up being one of those disenfranchised voters or maybe you wont even vote because Jesus Christ isn't on the ballot.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Yes, putting your rant in caps make it all true!

      September 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • angryersmell

      Make sure that when the ocean rolls up to your house after the ice caps melt, you tell it Jesus says it's not allowed in your basement.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cannuck

      Look, if you're going to reproduce parts of the GOP platform have to reference your source.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Liberal Skeptic

    So we are going to take a 100 plus yr sample size out of millions of yrs and say climate change is caused by humans. That's the part the gets me. Our world goes through cycles and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

    September 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jamesx

      You are taking data from the rate of climate change over the past and compare to current rate of change.

      Your logic is saying, Well how can you tell you are dying faster when you only lived 30 years and humanity been around for 6000 years (assuming you are christian). Because you look at the average.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Williams

      LibSkept:

      It's not just record temps. There is a huge body of evidence in the scientific record in multiple disciplines. It's all consistent. Get yourself a subscription to Discover magazine or Scientific American and read through the articles for a year. You'll begin to get an understand of how broadly encompassing this matter is. And it will concern you.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ialsoagree

      Well, for starters, there's no example in history of a turn around from an ice age as quickly as we're in right now. You could argue that is due to not having enough data, which could be the case, but it's not very likely.

      The other question that I have with your position – how can you presume that the storage of hundreds of millions of years of atmospheric CO2 being removed from the atmosphere and stored in the Earth as oil suddenly being burned back into the atmosphere in a mere 150 year period will have absolutely no effect on the climate? That, to me, is absurd on it's face.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      You should check into the actual known GW science. CO2 has never been this high. Scientists already know what CO2 does to a planet (see Venus) and temperature rise is correlating to the increasing CO2. The facts are in. Time for the deniers to move on.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ialsoagree

      Al, while I certainly agree that global warming is caused by human activity, I feel it would be academically dishonest not to point out your fault.

      Atmospheric CO2 has been much higher in the past on Earth. This is not even remotly close to the highest levels of atmospheric CO2 our planet has seen.

      That being established, we're also no where near the higest temperatures the Earth has seen either. And there is a correlation between atmospheric CO2 and average temperature of the Earth, specifically that they are proportional to each other. The exact relationship is not fully understood, but it is known that when the Earth had it's highest known temperatures, it also had it's highest known levels of atmospheric CO2.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scientist

    I know enough to know that weather is not climate. This year's weather does not indicate anything about global climate.

    September 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cannuck

      True. But...do ya see a trend here? Just maybe....?

      September 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Umbren

    Notice how you put his middle name in all capitals? I wonder why? And what does morals have to do with science?

    September 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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