2012 was a record-breaker.
The National Climatic Data Center reported today that "marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn."
Overall, the average temperature for the contiguous states was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 3.2 degrees above the 20th century average, and one degree above the average for 1998, the previous warmest year on record.
It was also the second most "extreme" year, the Center reported, noting events that included wildfires, drought, hurricanes and storms. But not, thankfully, tornadoes, which occurred below a norm of activity.
Meanwhile, if you're curious about Arctic sea ice, this is the site to check for regular reports: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ In December, it was the second lowest extent for that month in the satellite record.
After the Climatic Data Center report was released, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., CA), who chairs the environment and public works committee, released a statement that read, "“The facts speak for themselves -- whether it is NOAA’s announcement today that 2012 was the hottest year on record or the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, predictions of dangerous climate change impacts are coming true before our eyes. We need to focus now on what we must do to address climate change so that we can protect our people, local communities, and the nation’s economy.”
No word yet from the committee's minority chair, Sen. James. Inhofe (R., Okla.), who was in Taiwan discussing free trade agreements with President Ma Ying-jeou.
Surely, this report will be batted about with gusto in various climate change circles.