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. Bart Flaster

    Now we know. Romney is going to take care of the little guy by taking care of the big guys.

    September 18, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. clarinet

    Weather is not climate as 8 months is not a year. Just more propaganda.

    September 18, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul Boomer

      Seems to be fairly consistent "propaganda".

      September 18, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • irunner

      It will continue to get warmer – and you will continue to call it just weather. You won't believe until it is too late...

      September 18, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • organically

      Perhaps but in 150 years of record keeping the 8 hottest years have happened inthe last decade

      September 18, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • y22nxdf2

      The only good thing about global warming is that it will wipe out republicans too.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tesla1908

    Life thrives in a warmer climate. This is actually good news.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • gracko

      Climate isn't the problem – The rate at which climate changes is the problem.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • irunner

      When the Greenland and Antarctic ice is melting at record pace, I hope you don't live near a beach like I do. Most Florida beach homes will be uninhabitable in 50 years.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Rudedog

      Tell that to the DEAD corn stalks of the midwest. The potato crop is in danger too. Oh, but you must mean the swarms of gnats that have grown at an alarming rate, causing cattle to NOT gain as much weight.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Aubrie

      that may be true... but so do bugs, pests, insects, bacteria, viruses, super bugs, fungi and molds.....Will we have evolved an immune system to handle the deluge???

      September 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Everything will be illuminated soon enough

    NASA admits ALL the planets of our solar system are heating up rapidly ...its NOT just the earth. We have a cosmological event happening, not a "little" global one.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • david95

      The Sun is growing, very very slowly, but is.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Theis

      Source please...

      September 18, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • irunner

      I'm a NASA fanatic and have never heard that one.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. angryersmell

    Get to work on those arks, people.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Everything will be illuminated soon enough

    those that do not observe nature are at the mercy of this mother, just wait and see what she is cooking up for the next 2 years... mostly human stew.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Poncho's raincoat

    They make this claim every year it appears. Did Al Gore write this?

    September 18, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Aubrie

      Doesn't that tell you something??? Try joining reality...

      September 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Portland tony

    I'm sure the words "recorded by man" were omitted by the authors. It's hard to believe that any agency would go out on a limb and state "warmest ever" since North America has been around for a long time .....way longer than temperature measuring devices.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • torres

      Oh... I though that's what they meant with "on Record..."

      Poncho - That's the point, it keeps increasing... If you would just paid attention to what 1000+ scientist are warning you instead of Fox news pro-oil propaganda...

      September 18, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Wow1234

      It does say the hottest year on record (and then gives a date of when these records began)... I highly doubt dinosaurs or some other ancient creature was recording the temperature.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. humtake

    And that's the problem with politics. Reps can't get any smart people and Dems can't get anybody with common sense.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Aubrie

      Great observation and well said!!!

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

      ... wait..... are you saying stupid people have common sense?

      September 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      I think the problem with Dem's is their lack of confidence. I mean the Repub's have plenty of confidence, but that's because their vision is blurred by false hopes of 'All the science isn't in yet' ... The Dem's have the upper hand on this, it just takes time to convince the GOP because they don't understand Science ( because of all the crazy math and stuff )

      September 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. humtake

    Let's do a basic logic problem. Science has proven there have been 5 ice ages. They have also proven that in between those ice ages is a long period of global warming (bonus points for who has common sense enough to know that if the Earth never warmed after an ice age it wouldn't be called an ice age, it would be called normal). We are in between ice ages. Ok...now it's your turn. If it warms up between ice ages...and we are in between ice ages...logical (and common sense) dictates that what...? If you find yourself baffled by this logic problem, then you too are an IPCC scientist who is paid to come up with certain results to blame man for the warming.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • irunner

      You left out the part about this being the fastest rate of warming ever. The only diffference between the inter-glacial periods in the past and the current one is the industrial revolution (burning fossil fuels).

      September 18, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Scot

      Your logic works, but you are missing the point. It's not a blame game. It's a problem no matter why it's happening and we need to deal with it logically...

      September 18, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. organically

    The increasing droughts, floods, and wildfires in the U.S. and worldwide are all a major indicators of climate change, which is directly caused by fossil fuel use. Romney/Ryan fossil fuel dependent energy policy would only perpetuate the problem, which would be catastrophic for our country. In spite of the endless proof of human induced climate change, some of the population is still in denial. There are three reasons for this (1) the belief that the rapid change in our climate over the last 50 years is part of a cycle although these cycles take thousands of years, (2) the occasional negative news story on the science of climate change, and (3) rightist conservative radical or ignorant tea party philosophy that climate change is a hoax. There are deniers in every scientific fact. Climate change deniers threaten humanity. Reversing climate change is impossible at this point due to the international thirst for fossil fuels and our overall society living standard. This is not going to change. So, rather than talking about stopping climate change, let’s ignore the utopian deniers and begin a dialogue on how to adapt and stop dwelling on environmentally and socially damaging energy topics like Solyndra and the keystone pipeline.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Exactly....time to start adapting. Too many people want to ignore, blame, deny etc...whatever the reason. We aren't going to get everyone to wake up and pay attention let alone believe whats happening right before their very eyes and then ACT in time! Its probably too late for all of that. We are better off trying to figure out how we are going to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gant

    They can post all the climate change stories they want. It's the ones with 'we will need funding' that are the ones of concern. Fear is a carpet bagger's best friend.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. irunner

    I see the tea baggers (all retired I assume) have plenty of time to post gop propaganda. Since they are all old, my children won't have to hear this ignorance for too much longer.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Cora

      I am a retired homemaker. I raise my children and grandchildren and now have time to relax. Please support the LDS church.

      September 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Keel Hauler

    I don't know why people are so against the idea of global warming due to human activity. We're all part of the problem. It doesn't mean we're going to stop what we're doing, but what's the harm in admitting it? Nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • cira22

      Whether you believe global warming and or climate change is due to man, or just a natural occurrence on this planet, what harm is there in cleaning up the environment? What harm is there in making the air clean? What harm is there in protecting endangered species? What harm is there in making sure our children will inherit a beautiful planet? That is what i never get about the global warming argument. It's like saying you wont wash your hands because the bacteria on them may not get you sick. What harm is there in having clean hands?

      September 18, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • magnum12

      That is exactly what Romney is saying and look at the flak he is getting from thr Dems over telling the truth.

      September 18, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Wayne Justice

    Yes, North America is experiencing warmer than normal temps. However, the far Southern Hemisphere is experiencing below normal temps. Likewise, while the Arctic ice is decreasing, the Antarctic ice is increasing. So, the total polar ice is nearly the same (just slightly below normal). This is not exactly global warming by a long shot. However, climate change definitely is upon us. Watch the Sun, the spots are disappearing.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • dzerres

      Please provide the link that shows where the Antartic ice is decreasing. Just saying so doesn't make it so.

      September 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
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