US Climate: 2012 warmest in 118 years

Difference from average annual temperature in 2012 compared to the 1981–2010 average. Map by NOAA team.

NCDC Announces Warmest Year on Record for Contiguous U.S – Now that 2013 has arrived, climate scientists with NOAA’s National Climate Data Center have reported that last year was the warmest yet recorded for the continental United States.  Not only was it the warmest in the 118-year long record, but it was so by a full 3.2 degrees F over the 20th century average.  2012 also ranked 2nd in terms of extreme climate events (including drought).  You can read more details about 2012 climate and climate-related events at the NCDC website linked here.

Likewise, I urge you to take a look at the latest version of the National Climate Assessment, released last Friday for public review.  This is a more comprehensive view of the state of the climate along with how agriculture, human health, fisheries, ecosystems, transportation, etc. will be effected by climate change.  Personally, I think the 2-4 foot projected rise in sea level by the end of the century is among the scariest of climate-change impacts.  Maybe I’ll move back to Minnesota.  Since rising sea-level and other climate change impacts will likely be detrimental to the public, three chapters of the NCA document are dedicated to mitigation and adaptation strategies.  As focus continues to move further away from the question ‘is climate change real?’, academic and social resources will by necessity be directed to determining specific risks and specific ways to prepare for and manage those risks.  If the paper seems long, at least look at the bullet points at the start of each chapter, and remember – this is a preliminary version not a final draft.

Ok, sorry for a lack of pictures here, but these are new and important reports that people should be aware of.  Next blog will have lots of good Alaska pictures, I promise.