Even If It Gets Wacky Cold, 2012 Will Still Set Record Heat

Crazy climate events, August 2012: NOAA | National Climate Data CenterCrazy climate events, August 2012: NOAA | National Climate Data Center

The year so far—January to August—now ranks as the warmest on record in the US, says NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

  • The national temperature of 58.7°F was an insane 4.0°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record warm of 2006.
  • Thirty-three states were record warm Jan-Aug this year and an additional 12 states were top ten warm. Only Washington state had temperatures near average for the period.
  • January-August 2012 was also the 14th driest period on record for the lower 48 states with a precipitation total 1.90 inches below the average of 20.20 inches.
  • Drier-than-average conditions stretched across the country. Ten states had year-to-date precip totals among their ten driest.

The US Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) value for January-August was a record large 47 percent: more than twice the average value. Which beat the previous record of 46 percent set only last year. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures and warm nighttime temperatures contributed to the record high USCEI value.

As Wunderblog’s Jeff Masters writes:

Temperatures this year in the US have been so far above the previous record… that even if the remainder of 2012 ranks historically in the coldest one-third of September-Decembers on record, 2012 will beat out 1998 for the warmest year in history. Reliable weather records for the US go back to 1895.

To put this in a global perspective, check out Kate Sheppard’s posted video: The Warming World in Less Than 30 Seconds.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate