According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012 was far and away the warmest year on record in the lower 48 states, beating 1998 by a full degree Fahrenheit.
These charts put that warmth into historical perspective for the country as a whole, and for a few select cities.
The 1°F margin between 2012 and 1998 may not seem like much at first, but usually such temperature records are set by just a few fractions of a degree. As seen in this NOAA chart, 2012 towers above the pack of warm years.
Temperature departures from average throughout 2012 as compared to the previous 5 warmest and 5 coolest years.
Click to enlarge the image. Credit: NOAA.
Every state in the continental U.S. had temperatures that were above average, and 19 states, from Utah to Massachusetts, had record warm annual average temperatures. In South Dakota, annual average temperatures were 4.4°F above average, putting 2012 in the top spot on the list of warmest years there.
A total of 45 states had annual average temperatures that ranked among their top 10 warmest on record. The three exceptions in the lower 48 were Georgia, which had its 11th-warmest year, Oregon, where 2012 was the 12th-warmest year, and Washington, which was the coldest state in the contiguous U.S. this year, with its 30th-warmest year. (Here is a list of the annual temperatures for each of the lower-48 states, as well as a Climate Central interactive on 2012 state temperatures.)
Statewide ranks of 2012 average temperatures. Any state marked “118” had its warmest year on record in 118 years of recordkeeping.
Luckily I happened to live in the coolest state of the lower 48 last year. Out of 118 years of record-keeping, last year was only 89th.
But the rest of the states got hit pretty hard, with most being the warmest ever. Not a lot of fun to look forward to.
Need to start finding solutions.