State, nation also note low rainfall totals for 2012
By Jeff Montgomery and Molly Murray
29 December 2012
(The News Journal) – When the New Year rings in at midnight Monday, scientists will book 2012 as the hottest and one of the driest on record for the nation and the Northeast – including Delaware and New Jersey.
Some researchers warn it’s a sign of things to come as the globe warms and climate slowly changes in response to ongoing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
Delaware’s average annual temperature appears likely to clock in at about 58.7 degrees, the highest in 118 years of official record keeping. A similar record is expected for average temperatures across the lower 48 states, after the average for the first 11 months of the year ended a full degree above the last record.
Average rainfall nationwide is on track to be the 12th lowest since record keeping began in 1895, while Delaware’s precipitation approached the New Year with the third lowest 12-month total – with a record state drought averted by the arrival of Superstorm Sandy in late October.
Millions in America’s heartland suffered through epic drought in 2012. And late June’s “super derecho” – a thunderstorm with straight-line winds – snapped electrical transmission towers and shredded power poles in and around Washington, D.C., and surrounding states, leaving millions without power, some for days.
The ongoing chain of extreme weather has managers of America’s power grid for the first time acknowledging that climate change needs to be incorporated into long-range models for delivering electricity.
“I cannot think of any year in my career with more challenges” caused by weather, said Terry Boston, president of the regional PJM power grid. […]