2012 temperatures in the U.S. compared to normal. The only large region where temperatures were slightly cooler than normal was the Pacific Northwest. High Plains Regional Climate Center

By Jason Samenow
3 January 2013

(Washington Post) – We await the inevitable “official” announcement from NOAA that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the Lower 48, by a huge margin. Recall, in mid-December Climate Central calculated there was 99.99999999 percent chance this feat would be achieved.

In the mean time, it’s amazing to watch related records stream in at national, regional and local scales.

Perhaps the most jaw-dropping record I’ve encountered was posted by wunderground historian Christopher Burton: there were 362 all-time record highs logged in the U.S. in 2012 but ZERO all-time record lows. That is an incredible disparity which - to me- seems like it would be impossible to accomplish without a marked human influence on climate BOTH from urbanization around weather stations and elevated greenhouse gas concentrations.

Of course, naturally varying weather patterns played the major role in the distribution of temperatures, but it’s doubtful - in my opinion - the warmth would’ve been so intense without a helping hand from manmade causes.

The disparity in monthly records highs to record lows is also massively lopsided: 2,559 to 194, Burton reports.

Let’s review some other record reports I’ve encountered:

National scale

* John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville reports (via Roy Spencer) satellite-derived measurements of near-surface (or lower tropospheric) temperatures for both the contiguous and continental U.S. were warmest on record (dating back to 1979).

“For the U.S., 2012 started with one of the three warmest Januaries in the 34-year record, saw a record-setting March heat wave, and stayed warm enough for the rest of the year to set a record,” Christy writes. [more]

2012’s surreal record warmth in the U.S.

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