Last year was the warmest on records going back to 1895 for the 48 contiguous U.S. states and the second-worst for weather extremes including drought, hurricanes and wildfires, according to a U.S. report.
The average temperature in the region in 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit (12.9 Celsius), 3.2 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climatic Data Center said today in an analysis of the year.
U.S. Climate Extremes Index, which takes into account temperatures as well as tropical storms and drought, showed 2012 followed 1998 into the record books for extreme weather with almost twice the average value, the center said. Eleven disasters caused at least $1 billion in damage, including hurricanes Isaac in August and Sandy in October.
"The heat we saw in the U.S. is consistent with what we expect in a warming world," Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at the center, said on a conference call. "It's a huge exclamation point on the end of several decades."
David Fuller's view My suggestion - do not allow the often heated political exchanges on climate change to influence your own commonsense analytical assessment of the facts, as you objectively see them.
Start with what you observe in your own country and ask yourself whether or not any unusual trends are evident over the last few years, in terms of temperatures and extremes of drought or rainfall, compared to what you saw a decade or more ago.
If you would like to share your information with the Fullermoney Collective of Subscribers, send me a short summary of your findings by email, now or at any time over the year when you have something to say. I will post some of them, anonymously, to protect people's privacy. And if you see no discernable change in the nature of the weather where you live, that is fine as well. I am only interested in your objective perceptions, based on what you have experienced.
It would be interesting to hear whether or not the climate in your area is changing, in terms of what you have experienced over the medium to longer term. I know the www can provide much more detailed summaries but I am more interested in subscriber's personal impressions.
Here are my own observations. London's climate is generally moderate overall. However, in the '60s and '70s, I recall more snow and ice in winter. My impression, and I was not keeping records on this subject, was that it became slightly warmer in the '80s and '90s, and this trend seems to have increased in this century.
I think that is the main difference over those decades and I do not recall much variation in summer, with one or two exceptions, as it seldom gets really hot. However, last winter was the driest that I can recall. This winter has been the wettest, so far, and also the mildest to date by a considerable margin. I have seldom needed to wear gloves when walking to the office and back this winter, and that is unprecedented.