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. Fried Chicken Wings

    It has been very warm here in Florida. Both sides (Dem and Rep) are failing to fully address this problem and it is really a global problem. If you look at impact studies it will be probably 2050 – 2075 when we will really have problems. But as long as the Boomers are not effected by poisoned air and water then nothing gets done. My generation Gen Y will have to pay much more taxes and receive no benefits in order to take care of boomers. My grand children will be living on a poisoned planet.

    September 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maddy Gascar

      Keep eating fried chicken wings and you won't be able to spawn generation Z.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      The good news is that heat waves can kill of mass amounts of folks who are no equipped to handle. Maybe this will help balance the scales (less people collection SS). For as any true Republican will tell you, there is no such things as Global Warming – just a myth.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      No, no, Common Sense, not a myth. A conspiracy! It's just like with that evolution nonsense – all the scientists of the world get together in a secret hollowed-out mountain and decide what they are going to tell the public to believe. Sometimes they let lib'rul politicians and granting agencies in on it. Historians do it too, they get together to make sure the public doesn't find out that our Founding Fathers were actually born-again Christians who wanted to found a theocracy. Glenn Beck told me.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tekelder

      Wonderfully melodramatic post. Climate change is constant and by definition chaotic. People think they see trends only to have them disappear at the most inconvenient times. I guess people can find a disaster in anything if they try hard enough. The real disaster is setting public policy with junk science. If the politicians hadn't smelled a carbon tax the whole global warming scare would have blown over and we would now all be panicked about something even more frightening like the deterioration of our aluminum hats while we sleep.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Tekelder, do the words "in utter denial" mean anything to you?

      Exactly what are you qualifications for identifying climate change research as "junk science?' Do you possess a particular expertise in paleoclimatology? Biogeography? Or is that just the line you have been told to repeat?

      September 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. philhuggins

    I'm sure it's just a fluke. ( sarcasm)

    September 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Charlie

    Nope, not the hottest. The years 123-57 BC were much hotter

    September 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Derek

    I'm so sick and tired of all these left wing folks saying that Global Warming exists!! Let's just burn the coal and get our economy back on track, I mean, who cares about the planet, oh wait we all live there don't we?

    September 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan, TX

      We'll all be dead before global warming gets too bad. It will be our great-grandchildren's problem. Why should we care what happens after we die? We'll all be in Heaven, where it is air-conditioned.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • alloydflanagan

      Dan, don't be too sure you'll be dead when the s*** hits the fan. Ice is melting much faster than expected. You don't live near sea level, do you?

      September 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Trollbuster

    Matt, of course its idiotic but it was posted by a troll poser. Trolls post outrageous statements just to get noticed. Don't be too concerned, their average age is 13 and they go to bed early. Postings are much more intelligent after 11pm.

    September 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dp

    This can't possibly be true, because in my neighborhood one day this past July the temperature was five degrees below average, so therefore based on my scientific observation (of that one day), global climate change does not exist, in fact, temperatures around the world must be dropping based on my data.

    September 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mark

    alot of people wont ever care..they go from their air conditioned house to their air conditioned car to ac work or mall... drill baby drill huh

    September 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Peters

    It's amazing that people still think that WTC building #7 fell all by itself. Planes went into building #1 & #2 but never went anywhere close to building #7.

    September 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FParana

    When I'm asked by a young person what career to go into to best save the earth, I reply "mass murderer."

    September 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Flea

    If you watch the movie by Al Gore called and Uncomfotable Truth it expalins it all. When the ice caps are gone, the polar bears will become extinct and much land will disappear under water. When the earth heats, ice caps melt.

    September 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pitchfork

    Bunchof crybabies. Suck it up and get on with it!

    September 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sodomite in Gomorrah (iah)

    I take issue with this being the hottest.

    September 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pitchfork


      September 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. People in Hell (iah)

    @Sodomite (iah). As do the millions of us still alive and burning in hell during these past 2000 years. It don't get any hotter than everlasting hellfire.
    You folks enjoy your cool weather while you can. Speaking to those who will joining us in HELL just as soon as they die, acourse.

    September 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip (iah)

    not fooling anyone.

    September 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paradise Earth

    Nothing can stop this GOOD EARTH from becoming a warm paradise for all decent honest hearted peoples to enjoy forever.
    Acourse before that can possibly happen, the earth will need to spread it's warmth around closer to the poles, and any Jesus views as indecent need to go.

    September 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ew

      ew, you're creepy.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • GBD001

      I just got back from Glacier National Park and the Columbia Icefield in Banff, Alberta. I learned that the last ice age ended 15,000 years ago, and the glaciers have been melting ever since. That was 14,993 years before I bought my large SUV and the invention of the Prius. Global warming, Yes. Something we can stop. No. Will there be another ice age, Yes. Can we stop the warming. No. Are there plenty of stupid people on this planet. Yes.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
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