Last year was officially the hottest ever recorded for the lower-48 states. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric tallied weather and temperature data for 2012, and found that the year was both the warmest and the second-most extreme for weather ever recorded for the contiguous U.S.
According to NOAA’s latest “State of the Climate” report, the average temperature for the lower-48 states was 55.3°, which is 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record-year of 1998.
Last year was marked by an historic drought, above-average wildfires, multiple freak storms that wiped out power to millions, and multiple severe heat waves. According to the U.S. Climate Extremes Index, 2012 was the second most extreme year on record — coming in below 1998, the previous hottest year on record.
Precipitation was also down significantly in 2012. Average rainfall for the lower-48 states was 2.57 inches below average, contributing to the severe drought that gripped the nation and helping make the wildfire season the third most destructive on record.
The previous year, 2011, had the hottest summer on record. It’d be a lot easier to believe climate change was a massive conspiracy if it weren’t so conspicuously happening all around us year after year. At this point, you can’t call the deniers “skeptics,” since the skeptical mind can be changed by evidence. They’re fanatics deeply invested in the religion of Climate Denial — nothing will ever change their minds.