The warmest weather compared to average was concentrated in the central part of the U.S. but was so pervasive that only coastal sections of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska had average or below average temperatures. In the contiguous U.S., every state had above average temperatures. Nineteen states had their warmest year on record and an additional 26 states had one of their top 10 warmest years.
2012 contributed to a streak of 16 consecutive months of above average temperatures over the U.S. that started in June 2011.
“That has never occurred [before in U.S. climate records] and is clearly symptomatic of a changing climate,” NCDC’s director Tom Karl said.
The year began very warm with the fourth mildest winter on record followed by a record-setting spring, more than five degrees above average.
The early warmth produced a “tremendous green-up” in corn and soybean growing areas of the Midwest and farmers planted their crops as early they could, Karl said.
But this backfired as temperatures continued to climb and rains diminished. July was the hottest month ever recorded in the U.S. and the summer overall ranked second warmest on record.
“An estimated 99.1 million people experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100°F, nearly one-third of the nation’s population,” NCDC said.
And not only was 2012 the hottest year on record, it was one of the driest. Enjoy folks, you'll be wishing for 2012's "cool" temps ten years from now.