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The U.S. Climate Extremes Index was just released.  While it should surprise no one who lived through it and/or is somehow connected to reality, here is the NOAA (summaryfull report) headline/conclusion:

2012 was warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.
2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average
Thus, 2012 marked
  • the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States
    • a record warm spring,
      • The season’s temperature was 5.2°F above average, making it easily the warmest spring on record, surpassing the previous record by 2.0°F.
    • second warmest summer,
      • The national-scale heat peaked in July with an average temperature of 76.9°F,
        • 3.6°F above average, making it
        • the hottest month ever observed for the contiguous United States.
      • The eighth warmest June, record hottest July, and a warmer-than-average August resulted in a summer average temperature of 73.8°F, the second hottest summer on record by only hundredths of a degree.
      • An estimated 99.1 million people experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100°F, nearly one-third of the nation’s population.
    • fourth warmest winter and a
    • warmer-than-average autumn.
  • The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F
    • 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and
    • 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.
  • Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012.
    • Nineteen states had a record warm year, and
    • An additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.
  • The  15th driest year on record for the nation
    • At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation
    • The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West,
      • charring 9.2 million acres—the third highest on record.
    • The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 26.57 inches was 2.57 inches below average and the 15th driest year on record for the lower 48.
      • This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988 when 25.25 inches of precipitation was observed.
    • The driest conditions during 2012 occurred across the central United States.
      • Two states, Nebraska and Wyoming, had their driest years on record.
      • Eight additional states had annual precipitation totals ranking among the bottom ten.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation.
    • The index was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998.
    • 2012 saw 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley.
And, with this in mind, our political system and "The Village" is dominated by Climate Silence and a conspiracy to focus on the Fiscal Cliff molehill rather than deal with the Climate Cliff fissure.

It is past time for action.

See FOOW's graphical diary 2012 Warmest on Record in U.S. by 1°F: NOAA.  From that:

Related:  MMfA:  STUDY: Warmest Year On Record Received Cool Climate Coverage  E.g., "The Village"'s climate silence in data.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:18 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Hawks.

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