Even though December isn’t finished, it has become clear that 2012 will be the hottest year in U.S. history, Climate Progress has reported.
The United States had a warm November, assuring that 2012 will be the warmest year on record. Jeff Masters from Wunderground has said that,
“The year-to-date period from January – November has been by far the wamest such period on record for the contiguous U.S. – a remarkable 1.0°F above the previous record.”
December would have to be a full 1.0°F cooler than the coldest December on record to prevent 2012 from being the warmest on record. Masters says this would be meteorologically impossible, given the heat in December so far. In fact, an early-December heat wave has set records for the warmest December temperature on record in 7 states.
Another telling stat is that 86% of the contiguous United States had maximum temperatures that were in the hottest 10% historically during the first 11 months of the year (with the 12th not finished yet), and 71% of the United States had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%.
As far as drought conditions go this year, only the historic Dust Bowl of 1934, and during 1954 and 1956, were more extreme for the 11 month period.
It seems obvious from these stats, and I’m sure from the personal experiences of many people around the United States, especially those impacted by Hurricane Sandy and ongoing drought conditions, that climate change is already starting to hit home. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of what is to come, even if world emissions were cut significantly today. As I understand it, because of momentum in the system, a certain amount of warming is already locked-in. We’re going to have to adapt.