|Written by Eric Vermeiren|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 18:28|
Feeling hot lately? You're not the only one. A comprehensive report from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, called the State of the Climate showed that July 2011 to June 2012 was the HOTTEST 12-month period in the United States since NOAA began keeping records. The average temperature across the contiguous United States for the first six months of this year has also been record-breakingly warm, and by a considerable sum.
The average 2012 temperature through June was 57.4 degrees Fahrenheit — 4.5 degrees higher than the long-term average for the same period, while the average temperature during June was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century average.
Scorching temperatures during the second half of June resulted in at least 170 all-time high temperature records broken or tied and was a major cause of the massive wildfires that have consumed much of the mountain west.
While most of the record temperatures have occurred east of the Rocky Mountains, where it mixed with extremely dry weather, there have also been alarming climate signs in other parts of the globe. NOAA's State of the Climate report also found the Arctic was warming about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with Arctic sea ice shrinking to its second-smallest recorded size.
The report also found that heat-trapping greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide among others) continued to rise last year, as the global average atmospheric concentration for carbon dioxide tipped over 390 parts per million for the first time, an increase of 2.1 ppm since 2010.
While climate experts acknowledge that attributing any single extreme weather-related event to anthropogenic climate change is difficult, they say that data trend lines are pointing to a future where hotter, drier, and more severe weather-related events are more common.
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