From tropical storms and hurricanes like Sandy, to extended heat waves and detrimental summer droughts, to unprecedented wildfire outbreaks in the American West, 2012 marked a historic year for extreme weather events in the United States.
In fact, 2012 takes the prize for the warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous US thus allowing the year to break some other climate and weather related records.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center reports the State of the Climate and offers some of last year’s highlights.
– 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012.
– The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988.
– Each season of 2012 had precipitation totals below the 20th century average.