NOAA SOTC for December 2012

(This post revised to show the final report)

Source: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/13

In 2012, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average annual temperature of 55.3°F was 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and was the warmest year in the 1895-2012 period of record for the nation. The 2012 annual temperature was 1.0°F warmer than the previous record warm year of 1998. Since 1895, the CONUS has observed a long-term temperature increase of about 0.13°F per decade. Precipitation averaged across the CONUS in 2012 was 26.57 inches, which is 2.57 inches below the 20th century average. Precipitation totals in 2012 ranked as the 15th driest year on record. Over the 118-year period of record, precipitation across the CONUS has increased at a rate of about 0.16 inch per decade.

On a statewide and seasonal level, 2012 was a year of both temperature and precipitation extremes for the United States. Each state in the CONUS had annual temperatures which were above average. Nineteen states, stretching from Utah to Massachusetts, had annual temperatures which were record warm. An additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest years. Only Georgia (11th warmest year), Oregon (12th warmest), and Washington (30th warmest) had annual temperatures that were not among the ten warmest in their respective period of records. A list of the annual temperatures for each of the lower-48 states is available here. Numerous cities and towns were also record warm during 2012 and a select list of those locations is available here. Each state in the CONUS, except Washington, had at least one location experience its warmest year on record. One notable warmest year record occurred in Central Park, in New York City, which has a period of record dating back 136 years.

Much of the CONUS was drier than average for the year. Below-average precipitation totals stretched from the Intermountain West, through the Great Plains, into the Midwest and Southeast. Nebraska and Wyoming were both record dry in 2012. Nebraska’s annual precipitation total of 13.04 inches was 9.78 inches below average, and Wyoming’s annual precipitation total of 8.08 inches was 5.09 inches below average. New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Georgia, and Delaware had a top ten dry year. The large area of dry conditions in 2012 resulted in a very large footprint of drought conditions, which peaked in July with about 61 percent of the CONUS in moderate-to-exceptional drought, according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). The footprint of drought during 2012 roughly equaled the drought of the 1950s which peaked at approximately 60 percent. Wetter-than-average conditions were present for the Northwest, where Washington had its fifth wettest year on record. Washington’s statewide precipitation total of 47.24 inches was 10.40 inches above average. Wetter-than-average conditions were also present across parts of the Gulf Coast and Northeast.

Seasonal highlights in 2012 include the fourth warmest winter (December 2011-February 2012), with warmer-than-average conditions across a large portion of the country. The largest temperature departures from average were across the Northern Plains, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. Winter was drier than average for the East and West coasts, while the Southern Plains were wetter than average improving drought conditions across New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The warmer and drier than average conditions resulted in the third smallest winter snow cover extent on record for the contiguous United States. Spring (March-May) was record warm for the country, with 34 states being record warm for the period. The season consisted of the warmest March, fourth warmest April, and second warmest May on record. Spring precipitation was near-average for the lower-48, with the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest being wetter than average, while the Central Rockies and Ohio Valley were drier than average. The summer (June-August) continued the warmer-than-average trend for the contiguous U.S. with national temperatures ranking as the second warmest on record. The summer average temperature for 2012 was very close to the warmest summer (2011) and the third warmest summer (1936), with only 0.1°F separating the three. The summer season consisted of the eighth warmest June, record warmest July, and 13th warmest August. Drier-than-average conditions were anchored in the central U.S. with record breaking wildfires and a drought footprint comparable to the drought episodes of the 1950s causing large-scale agriculture problems in the Midwest, Plains, and Mountain West. Autumn (September-November) temperatures were closer to average compared to the preceding three seasons, but still ranked as the 22nd warmest autumn on record. Warmer-than-average conditions were present for the West, while cooler-than-average conditions were present for the Eastern Seaboard. Precipitation totals for the nation averaged as the 22nd driest autumn on record.

This annual report places the temperature and precipitation averages into historical perspective, while summarizing the notable events that occurred in 2012. More detailed analysis on individual months can be found through the Climate Monitoring home page.


Top Ten U.S. Weather/Climate Events for 2012

The following is a list for the top ten U.S. weather/climate events which occurred during 2012. These events were selected by a panel of weather/climate experts from around the country. For additional information on these events, please see our Top Ten U.S. Events webpage.
Rank Event
1 Hurricane/Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
2 Contiguous U.S. Drought
3 Contiguous U.S. Warmest Year on Record
4 Record Wildfire Activity
5 Multi-State Derecho
6 March 2nd-3rd Severe Weather Outbreak
7 Alaska Cold Winter/Snow Records
8 Near-Record Low Great Lakes Levels
9 Contiguous U.S. Snow Cover
10 Hurricane Isaac

The National report is here, they did in fact mention the national value for CONUS Tavg despite my earlier speculation from a preliminary email report

Climate Highlights — December

  • The average contiguous U.S. temperature for December was 36.4°F, 3.4°F above the 20th century long-term average, and the 10th warmest December on record.
  • Warmer-than-average conditions were present for much of the U.S. east of the Rockies. Twenty states had monthly temperatures that ranked among the ten warmest on record. Near-average conditions were present for the Northern Plains and much of the West. The Pacific Northwest was slightly warmer than average.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/12

OF NOTE, they have added this disclaimer:

PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. Graphics based on final data are provided on the Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

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66 Responses to NOAA SOTC for December 2012

  1. Skiphil says:

    I get a ‘404’ error message for the hyperlink but this link works:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

  2. YFNWG says:

    The note at the bottom on the report (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/12) states:

    PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. Graphics based on final data are provided on the Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.
    ——————————————————————————–

  3. Tim Walker says:

    I wonder what ranking Alaska’s year was. NOAA talks about all of the warm rankings, but not about the cold ranking. That does look interesting.

  4. Bloke down the pub says:

    And of course, no mention of the Crn.

  5. Ric Werme says:

    It appears that NOAA was stung enough by my criticisms of putting the monthly CONUS Tavg in the SOTC (and then not updating it when new data comes in 2 months later) to not include it in this prelim report (and maybe the final), where they had for done so the last two years.

    Economists update their early estimates of GDP growth (or shrinkage) once or twice, and it even gets covered in the financial media. NOAA could do the same. Not a big deal – I just use UAH data which has no mail-in B91 forms, and pretty soon we’ll be able to use USCRN data, thanks to Anthony and his elves. In either case, we’ll have the final numbers early, and sting NOAA every month.

  6. Tom O says:

    I’m just cherry picking here, but if January in Alaska was14 degrees below normal and every other season was below normal, this is saying that Alaska was only about 1.2 degrees below average for the other 11 months to come up with that overall figure. Somehow, I find this “report” to likely be a little short on honesty and a little long of male bovine droppings.

  7. crosspatch says:

    December’s number IS in the database there, they just aren’t displaying it for whatever reason:

    December 2012: 36.39F Rank 109

    Go here:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

    Select “December” as the period and :”Submit”.

    December trend since 1990: 0.01 degF / Decade (select 1990 as start year to see that trend).

  8. Myron Mesecke says:

    I don’t know. I read things like “3rd” and “15th” and “since 1988″. How is anything like that “historic”?

  9. mike g says:

    Weren’t the same people constantly reminding us a couple years ago, when the US was cold, that it was an insignificant fraction of the earth’s surface?

  10. Joe Sumrall says:

    Posted at Drudge Report…
    “FEDS: 2012 warmest year ever for US, second most ‘extreme’…”

  11. Old woman of the north says:

    All weather events seem worse than in the past because more people are affected. If no one is there is there a severe weather event?

    Drought of the 1930s and 1950s – any in the 1970s or 1990s? Now drought in 2012! Seems like weather cycles to me. In Australia we have a federal water plan but, one thing about drought – no one can make it rain. I love people talking about managing our water and ‘giving it to the environment’ when it has stopped raining.

  12. Patrick B says:

    Why has wildfire reporting suddenly become a part of weather/climate data reporting? Sure, it’s affected by drought and wind, but the drought conditions are already reported separately and there’s not a few significant factors that affect the data that are way outside NOAA’s responsibilities – pine beetle infestation, logging etc. When did wildfire reporting for NOAA start?

  13. D Boehm Stealey says:

    Joe Sumrall,

    I don’t have a Facebook account, so I can’t post a response showing that NOAA juggles the books. The 1930’s were the warmest ever U.S. temps.

    Maybe some folks with Facebook accounts can post a rebuttal [and a link to WUWT] here.

  14. crosspatch says:

    December temperature trend since 1939 is -0.03F/Decade. In other words, since the late 1800’s to today, most of the warming happened up to 1939. There has been no warming of December temperatures since then.

  15. MAC says:

    Yeah, and now the MSM are using the “warmest” meme to great effect without the NOAA’s caveat: “PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. Graphics based on final data are provided on the Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.”

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/08/16413805-noaa-2012-was-warmest-year-ever-for-us-second-most-extreme#comments

    Comments should be made in NBCnews reminding them of NOAA’s caveat. Looks like a page full of convulsion going into the apoplectic stage of hyperbole on “climate extreme.”

  16. pokerguy says:

    How much area in percentage terms is the U.S. with respect to the rest of the planet? 1 percent or something? It’s like bragging that the state of Rhode Island was the warmest in a 100 while the country was nothing special. Such games.

  17. Neil Jordan says:

    I was going through some statistics papers and came across a 1989 sheet from the Health Physics Society (ionizing radiation safety) newsletter which summarized that there was no statistically significant warming in the contiguous US from 1895 to 1987. I copied the article below. Note that in the original type, “…the authors examined the DATA…”, DATA was highlighted.
    [begin quote]
    HEALTH PHYSICS SOCIETY
    ENVIRONMENTAL RADIATION SECTION
    ERS Newsletter
    SPRING ISSUE March 1989

    What Greenhouse???

    Those interested in non-ionizing environmental radiation may wish to read the paper “Are atmospheric ‘greenhouse’ effects apparent in the climatic record of the contiguous U.S. (1895-1987)?” published in the January issue of Geophysical Research Letters (16:49—52, 1989). Perhaps the following quote from the concluding section of the paper will further stimulate your curiosity:

    “The most important result of this study is that there is no statistically significant evidence or change in annual precipitation for the contiguous U.S., 1895-1987. Neither is there evidence of change in winter or summer precipitation on the northern plains during that period.”

    This study deals with data from the atmosphere above one land mass and is not necessarily representative of the global atmosphere, most of which is above the oceans. However, it is refreshing to note that the authors examined the data, not the output of a computer model (which is all too frequently called “data”), and compiled an important data set which may be useful for checking some of the models.
    [end quote]

    I checked on line, and the paper is archived at http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1989GeoRL..16…49H

    The paper can be downloaded at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/GL016i001p00049/pdf

  18. Yes, yes, but nobody, read that as few voters, live in Alaska anyway so those in the lower 48 simply ignore the north unless they want oil or salmon.

  19. RHS says:

    Pokerguy – I think it is the CONUS which makes up just under 2% of the earth’s surface.

  20. john robertson says:

    @ Neil Jordan so from the conclusion and the names of the authors, I conclude, THEY KNEW.
    In 1989 the TEAM knew there was no warming in the USA data.
    By 2003 in was claimed by same people, of this same data, that it was warming like never before.
    Small wonder Steve McIntyre’s investigations terrified them.

  21. pat says:

    in australia, bushfires are being exploited to the CAGW hilt, whilst UK Met Office goes in the other direction:

    9 Jan: SMH: Ben Cubby: Records will keep tumbling with blistering heatwaves here to stay
    The hottest average maximum temperature ever recorded across Australia – 40.33 degrees, set on Monday – might stand for only 24 hours and be eclipsed when all of Tuesday’s readings come in. The previous record had stood since December 21, 1972.
    ”The current heatwave – in terms of its duration, its intensity and its extent – is unprecedented in our records,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s manager of climate monitoring and prediction, David Jones…
    “Those of us who spend our days trawling – and contributing to – the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilisation,” said Liz Hanna, convener of the human health division at the Australian National University’s climate change Adaption Network.
    ”We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public,” Dr Hanna said. ”The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the time scale is contracting.”
    Around the world, this year could be the hottest ever recorded by modern instrumentation, according to a recent study by Britain’s Met Office…
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/records-will-keep-tumbling-with-blistering-heatwaves-here-to-stay-20130108-2cetq.html

    8 Jan: UK Telegraph: John-Paul Ford Rojas: Global warming at a standstill, new Met Office figures show
    The Met Office has downgraded its forecast for global warming to suggest that by 2017 temperatures will have remained about the same for two decades.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9787662/Global-warming-at-a-standstill-new-Met-Office-figures-show.html

  22. crosspatch says:

    “Warmest year in forever!” stuff is an interesting psychological play. It implies to someone who doesn’t know better that the entire year has been the warmest ever. What actually happened was a very unusually warm spring pushed up the average for the entire year. If you look at fall temperatures for 2012, all of that warmth went away and by fall of 2012, fall 2012 was cooler than fall of 2011. We did have a very warm spring in the US (warmest EVAR!). That warmth was in March (warmest EVAR!) but most of that warmth went away in April which was cooler than April 6 years ago. May was also pretty warm, but not as warm as one in the 1930’s was. But it was the month of March that made the annual average of 2012 so high. It wasn’t warm for the entire year.

  23. Tom Stone says:

    It’s my understanding that the data set goes back to 1896. I wonder how many stations have been moved or urbanized in the last 116 years?

  24. cotwome says:

    From the NOAA SOTC pre-release: “2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included …hurricanes and storms…

    Historic year for hurricanes? If NOAA’s thinks 2012 was an ‘extreme’ year for hurricanes, that made landfall in the contiguous U.S., it makes one one wonder what their definition of extreme is. But NOAA also says this:

    **As of December 2005, landfalling wind speeds in the sixth indicator are determined using the following logic:

    1. For landfalls prior to 1915: Use wind speed observation prior to landfall as landfalling windspeed.
    2. For landfalls from 1915 to 1930: Use wind speed observation prior to landfall if observation was at 12Z. Otherwise use midpoint windspeed value from assigned landfalling Saffir-Simpson Scale.
    3. For landfalls from 1931 to 1979: Use wind speed observation prior to landfall if observation was at either 0Z or 12Z. Otherwise use midpoint windspeed value from assigned landfalling Saffir-Simpson Scale.
    4. For landfalls from 1980 to the present: Use estimated landfalling windspeed as reproted in the Tropical Cyclone Reports issued by the National Hurricane Center.

    In other words all landfalling tropical cyclones prior to 1980 use wind speed ‘observation’ and all landfalling tropical cyclones after 1980 use ‘estimated’ wind speed!?

  25. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    December 2012 SOTC is up:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/12

    Looks like a CONUS Tavg value to me. “National Overview”, “Climate Highlights – December”:
    The average contiguous U.S. temperature for December was 36.4°F, 3.4°F above the 20th century long-term average, and the 10th warmest December on record.

    I think someone may have been messing with you.

    The 2012 Annual SOTC is also interesting (bold added):
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/13

    In 2012, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average annual temperature of 55.3°F was 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and was the warmest year in the 1895-2012 period of record for the nation. The 2012 annual temperature was 1.0°F warmer than the previous record warm year of 1998. Since 1895, the CONUS has observed a long-term temperature increase of about 0.13°F per decade.

    Warmest year EVAH for less than 2% of the planet? Definitely time to offer further financial offerings to the weather gods.

    For absolute proof this extreme warmth is an all-encompassing global event, there’s this report from the other side of the globe:

    Australia adds new colour to temperature maps as heat soars
    Forecast temperatures are so extreme that the Bureau of Meteorology has had to add a new colour to its scale. It is a sign of things to come


    Global warming is turning the volume of extreme weather up, Spinal-Tap-style, to 11. The temperature forecast for next Monday by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is so unprecedented – over 52C – that it has had to add a new colour to the top of its scale, a suitably incandescent purple.

    Australia’s highest recorded temperature is 50.7C, set in January 1960 in South Australia. The record for the hottest average day across the nation was set on Monday, at 40.3C, exceeding a 40-year-old record. (…)

    Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard said: “Whilst you would not put any one event down to climate change, weather doesn’t work like that, we do know over time that as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events and conditions.”

    Since everyone knows Gillard is the most honest politician in Australia and would never lie, not even for political advantage, certainly this is even more irrefutable proof that it all really is worse than we thought.

  26. LexingtonGreen says:

    Is there a global number to pair this with? I looked at the reference page and since I am just a casual observer nothing jumped out at me. Thanks!

  27. george e. smith says:

    Well on my way in here to WUWT I got a AP NEWS story from Seth Boringstein saying 2012 was hottest year on record in a landslide, and Kevin Trenworth chimed in with his these sorts of records don’t happen without climate change, or words to that effect.

  28. george e. smith says:

    sorry about the typos up ther

  29. Bob Tisdale says:

    Is NOAA Misleading the Public by Including Tropical Cyclones in its 2012 Climate Extremes Index Ranking?
    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/is-noaa-misleading-the-public-by-including-tropical-cyclones-in-its-2012-climate-extremes-index-ranking/
    If not, the press and public will certainly get the wrong idea.

  30. george e. smith says:

    AKA Kevin Trenberth.

    “These records do not occur like this in an unchanging climate,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “And they are costing many billions of dollars.”

  31. rogerknights says:

    Patrick B says:
    January 8, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Why has wildfire reporting suddenly become a part of weather/climate data reporting? Sure, it’s affected by drought and wind, but the drought conditions are already reported separately and there’s not a few significant factors that affect the data that are way outside NOAA’s responsibilities – pine beetle infestation, logging etc. When did wildfire reporting for NOAA start?

    Someone should formally ask them this question. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on the agenda until this century.
    Someone should also ask who made the suggestion that it be added, and what considerations went into making that decision.

  32. LexingtonGreen says:

    I got my question answered on a global number. It looks like the full year is not in yet. But I am learning. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2012/11 Eighth warmest globaly at least for the 11 months ended November. I don’t think I will be losing sleep. Thanks for the great blog Anthony! I learn something every day.

  33. Keith Sketchley says:

    “In 2012, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average annual temperature of 55.3°F was 3.3°F above the 20th century average”

    is meaningless or worse if there is a trend (such as slow warming from LIA) or a significant cyclic factor that is not equalized across the century (.e.g. if cycle length 60 years there is up to a 20 year mismatch to 100 years).

  34. AndyG55 says:

    pat says:
    “in australia, bushfires are being exploited to the CAGW hilt”

    Far worse bushfires than the recent ones are part of the very culture of Australia.

    Anyone with even one functioning brain cell will not the fooled.

    Not sure about the CAGW apologists, though,
    They are non-thinking, brain-washed bunch of zombies.

  35. clipe says:

    *Near-Record Low Great Lakes Levels”

    Back in Israel, water authority spokesman Schor said that the huge quantities of rain come after seven years of drought in Israel. In the book of Genesis in the Bible, he said, seven plentiful years were followed by seven lean years and starvation.

    “Let’s hope we now have the seven good years,” he said.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/08/massive-storm-pummelling-middle-east-good-news-for-israeli-water-system-not-so-much-for-syrian-refugees/

  36. James at 48 says:

    Warmest in 15 Bazillion Years, Venus here we come. I’ll tell you what is warm. What is warm is being too close to books that are being cooked. Meanwhile in other news, lowest oil imports into the US in many years, and at the personal level my CO2 footprint is at an all time low as I scrimp and save to avoid eating cat food, cat food, cat food, again when I get old.

  37. peterhodges says:

    Well that is after they adjust current temperatures up 2 degrees.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/rawurban3.5_pg.gif

  38. Bill Illis says:

    Anyone have the US Conus Monthly temperature data from earlier this year saved.

    I download it every few months and, as of August 2012, the average US Conus temperature for 1901 to 2000 was 52.78F, making this year’s 55.3F only 2.5F higher than average.

    Just asking if anyone has saved it because it appears to have changed considerably to me as in this.

    http://s9.postimage.org/juyx0pjzz/NCDC_Changes_in_US_Conus_Augto_Dec2012.png

    I get the data from here which provides all the precip, temp, drought index, etc. data for the US lower 48 states.

    http://www7.ncdc.noaa.gov/CDO/CDODivisionalSelect.jsp

    Naturall, the NCDC doesn’t have archives that one can check by. I’ve found a few older datasets that show the same thing but I’m looking for confirmation. Because this is a ridiculous change that is not outlined anywhere

  39. James Allison says:

    “Since 1895, the CONUS has observed a long-term temperature increase of about 0.13°F per decade.”
    ========================
    I see, so the contiguous US of A has has heated up at twice the rate of the rest of the world. How realistic is that? Must be all those huge gas guzzling pollution spouting SUV’s you guys insist upon driving. :)

  40. DesertYote says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a collection of meaningless “statistics” gathered together in one place before. Just a casual overview gave my test engineering trained brain a head ache. If I had ever presented anything half as hoky as this, I would have been escorted out of the factory quicker the I could say SPC.

  41. Luther Wu says:

    The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 was a significant weather event resulting in extraordinary ice loss. Mention of the event would be counterproductive to the cause.

  42. garymount says:

    After my local news reported this to me and my fellow British Columbia citizens they added “climate scientists say that this proves climate change is real”.
    Of course we all know that you need 30 years of changed weather before you can make such a claim. These news organizations are causing harm to me and me fellow citizens.

  43. So they list their Annual Average, and the amount the temp was above or below the 20th century average.

    Since the 20th century ended in 2000, then 2001 becomes the first year of the 21st century, right?

    In the 2001 annual report, they list the long-term average as 52.8F (and the yearly avg as 54.3).

    “…The contiguous United States was much warmer than average in 2001. The preliminary 2001 average annual temperature was 54.3° F (12.4° C), which was 1.5° F (0.8° C) above the 1895-2001 mean…” (54.3-1.5=52.8)

    All well and good. But 1895-2001 isn’t the 20th century ave.

    They didn’t (as far as I can see), put out annual reports for 2002-2005. But the long term avg (the “20th century average”) shouldn’t have changed, right?

    Somewhere along the way, it did.

    “…In 2012, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average annual temperature of 55.3°F was 3.3°F above the 20th century average…”

    That makes the “new” 20th century average 52.0 degrees (55.3-3.3=52). So appears they’re showing a .8 degree DROP in the 20th century average, based on their posting from 2001. No wonder we’re showing a rise in the current anomalies.

    How is it possible that the 20th century average can change so much (especially 11 years or so after the century ended)?

    BTW, in the 1998 report, they gave a quick breakdown of how they get THEIR results:

    “…The national temperature index expresses temperature departure from the 60-year mean in terms of standard deviations. Each year’s value is computed by standardizing the temperature for each of 344 climate divisions in the U.S. by using their 1931-90 mean and standard deviation, then weighting these divisional values by area. These area-weighted values are then normalized over the period of record. Positive values are warmer and negative values are cooler than the mean. The national standardized temperature index ranked 1998 as the second warmest year on record…”

  44. Chad Jessup says:

    All that information certainly ties in well with a La Niña event.

  45. indigo says:

    Oh no, temperature data shows record highs. But we know that the earth can’t warm because that would mean questioning the global order built on ever-growing resource extraction and consumption leading to global environmental change, so we must conclude that reality itself is wrong.

  46. Box of Rocks says:

    Wait a darn minute.

    I thought after the dust settled 1939 was still the warmest year.

    WTF, Over?

  47. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @george e. smith

    >“These records do not occur like this in an unchanging climate,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “And they are costing many billions of dollars.”

    Not as many billions as trading carbon certificates on all the energy in the world. Not by a long shot.

  48. izen says:

    As other posters have pointed out the CONUS is only around 2% of the total global area. Local weather variation has more influence than any climate trend.

    Most of the energy in the climate system is in water which with its high thermal capacity and large energy changes with phase changes from solid/liquid/vapor forms is the key dominant component.

    The obvious macro scale measures of the energy in the climate system are sea level, ocean heat content, land ice mass balance and atmospheric moisture content.
    They reveal how much energy is increasing in the system from the shift from ice to vapor and thermal expansion of the liquid phase.

    the implication of the changes seen in these values is obvious.
    The confirmation from the NCDC that the CRN shows 2012 was the warmest measured year (including 1939) by 1degF is just the result of the macro scale influence of the oceanic and atmospheric parameter trends.

  49. oldfossil says:

    Am I the only person here apart from george e. smith who is just a little worried by the NOAA report? By the Australian heatwave and bush fires? Am I the only true skeptic present, always prepared to change my mind or refine my theories whenever new data comes in? Why do so many commenters here agree that a temperature optimum is better than a Little Ice Age, but they rubbish any confirmation that warming has occurred? Aren’t you guys being just a tiny bit inconsistent?

    Unfortunately I won’t be around to see if Clive Best is right and after the current 60-year cycle bottoms out, rapid warming will resume from 2020 onward. Personally I don’t believe in any cycle where the underlying mechanism is unknown and “statistical artefact” is the most likely explanation.

    (At least this comment won’t be moderated out of existence, the way it would happen if I posted a contrary view at SkepSci.)

  50. Liberal Skeptic says:

    OldFossil: Based on your name I’m going to guess you’ve got a few decades on me, I’m still in my 20’s and I’ve changed my mind of what is going on with global warming more times than I can count and I’ve only really been culturally aware of the debate for a few years. It’s the Feynman quote about observations matching theory (I’m a pop science fan, so people like Bad Astronomer and Neil De grasse Tyson, Brian Cox etc are regular listens/watches for me and they quote Feynman all the time) that means I settled on some serious doubts about what the IPCC and certain science communicators are telling me is accurate.

    However, Heat waves happen all the time, droughts happen all the time, wild fires happen all the time. And there will be regional variation to that effect. There is no evidence that this is happening more or more intensely around the world though. This year included. It doesn’t matter how many times they book end these stories with “but man made global warming still….”, it doesn’t change the weight of the data.

    With regards to being worried by it i’d suggest it’s like crime statistics in the UK (only using this example as a UK’er so I know it), statistically crime has been decreasing for years. However, it’s being reported more in the media which leads to a public perception that it is increasing
    Heat waves are just weather, the heat wave in the US was caused by a blocking effect.The same thing that caused that Russian heat wave a few years ago, which was initially claimed to be caused by global warming but was later corrected to be nothing more than simple weather.

  51. izen says:

    @- Liberal Skeptic
    “Heat waves are just weather, the heat wave in the US was caused by a blocking effect.The same thing that caused that Russian heat wave a few years ago, which was initially claimed to be caused by global warming but was later corrected to be nothing more than simple weather ”

    No, it was initially claimed to be ‘just weather’ with the proviso that AGW just added a fraction of a degC on top, but it has since been discovered that the blocking loops of the jet stream convergence zones are the result of a warming arctic with increasing ice melt in the summer months.

    http://conference2011.wcrp-climate.org/posters/C11/C11_Francis_M123B.pdf

  52. Crustacean says:

    Hope I’m not overlooking something but it appears that as of this morning (Wednesday 1/9), the disclaimer noting that updated information will not be posted to the SOTC page has disappeared. One now finds, near the top of the page:

    “Issued January 8, 2013: The data presented in this report are final through July and preliminary from August-December. Ranks, anomalies, and percent areas may change as more complete data are received and processed.”

    Curiously, we’re not advised whether these anticipated changes will be noted on the SOTC page.

    At the very bottom of the page there is a link to a further disclaimer about data not necessarily matching what’s found at other agency sites.

    Am I just overindulging my suspicious nature by wondering why these things seem to be changing from day to day, if not more frequently?

  53. beng says:

    The only reason the June derecho was remarkable is because it blew thru Wash DC. If that had been restricted to the Appalachian mountains or Ohio valley (or any low-populated region) it wouldn’t have been much news.

  54. Mr Lynn says:

    I see “warm,” “warmer,” and “warmest” in that report. Not a hint of “cold,” “colder,” “coldest” anywhere, all year, in the contiguous United States?

    /Mr Lynn

  55. Jeff Alberts says:

    I can tell you that it was colder and wetter than average in the US Pacific Northwest. Averages are meaningless.

  56. Liberal Skeptic says:

    Reply to izen :

    Next you need to demonstrate that the warming arctic is actually caused by global warming. Which we don’t have enough data to prove.

    We do have anecdotal reports from the time that the kind of melting we are seeing now has happened before though. Is it really outside of natural variability, and therefore not weather?

  57. ferd berple says:

    Neil Jordan says:
    January 8, 2013 at 11:59 am
    The paper can be downloaded at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/GL016i001p00049/pdf
    ======
    Here is the conclusion, pg 52.

    “The most important result of this study is that there is no statistically significant evidence of an overall increase in annual temperature or change in annual precipitation for the contiguous U.S., 1895-1987.”

    No change in temp or precip 1895-1987, with Hansen and Jones as references. The team clearly knew this.

    10 years later, after thousands of weather stations in Siberia were removed with the break up of the USSR – Global Warming. Fancy that, remove thousands of weather stations in one of the coldest spots on earth, and global average temperatures go up.

    And they call themselves scientists.

  58. BillD says:

    I find it interesting that the record high mean temperature is supported by local data. There were 362 locations in CONUS which recorded their all time record high in 2012 and exactly 0 locations that recorded their all time record low in 2012. There were 34007 record daily highs and 6,663 record daily lows for the years. This ratio of about 5;1 is the greatest in the NCDC data base. 2012 certainly was a record hot year in the US. I expect that the next year with a significant El Nino will set a new record for the global high mean temperature.

  59. Duster says:

    oldfossil says:
    January 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Am I the only person here apart from george e. smith who is just a little worried by the NOAA report? By the Australian heatwave and bush fires? Am I the only true skeptic present, always prepared to change my mind or refine my theories whenever new data comes in? Why do so many commenters here agree that a temperature optimum is better than a Little Ice Age, but they rubbish any confirmation that warming has occurred? Aren’t you guys being just a tiny bit inconsistent?

    Unfortunately I won’t be around to see if Clive Best is right and after the current 60-year cycle bottoms out, rapid warming will resume from 2020 onward. Personally I don’t believe in any cycle where the underlying mechanism is unknown and “statistical artefact” is the most likely explanation.

    (At least this comment won’t be moderated out of existence, the way it would happen if I posted a contrary view at SkepSci.)

    I would say that you are. For an “Old Fossil” you seem to have forgotten your childhood experiences, or possibly you spent it indoors, or possibly you may be losing your memory. There’s a difference between being a sceptic and blowing where ever the most recent draft pushes you.

    Droughts and floods are things I remember all the way back into the 1950s. I recall the announcement of US nuclear submarines surfacing at the North Pole. I remember sitting in the family station wagon while my dad explained to fire fighters that he could not just have my mom drive us kids home while he was drafted to fight a forest fire. She didn’t drive. As they talked, ash and smoke obscured everything ahead. I recall men in a small motor boat cruising a flooded intersection near my parent’s house and joking about whether they should stop at the stop sign whose octagon was half-visible above the water. Flooding had stopped just feet from our front door in Sacramento.

    As regards Australia, you want read about fire-mediated ecologies – like much of Australia, and even California in North America. Most people seem to believe that fire is an unnatural event, yet many parts of the planet have plants and entire ecologies that are evolved to experience periodic burning. We humans don’t like the landscape to burn, but then we do build stuff that burns down readily. Increases in “damages” and “costs” related to “extreme” weather events correlates most tightly with increases in human populations and development, not storm frequency.

    As concerns ice ages little or otherwise, the record of death, disease and starvation in temperate climate areas is linked tightly to cold waves. Droughts are also often tied to colder periods. The 1970s drought in California was during a period of concern regarding the return of a glacial epoch because of cold temperatures. Colder air is drier. Also, lower CO2 means poorer plant growth. Cooler planetary temperatures mean lower available CO2, and studies of glacial epoch productivity indicate reduced biological productivity.

  60. Bill says:

    The “All time high” 2012 temperatures are interesting.
    Most of the records are for the same locations, and mostly in July.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/13/supplemental/page-6/

  61. BillD says:

    Bill–I looked over the all time highs and noted results for Wisconsin, Colorado, Indiana, Tennessee, Geogria, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and probably other states as well. Not sure what you mean by “for the same locations.” Yes, not surprisingly, the all time highs are during summer, mostly July and August. Here’s a safe prediction–As the climate warms, we can still expect the warmest weather during summer and the coldest during winter. The greatest warming, however, often occurs during late winter and early spring. For example, last year, the greatest number of daily record temperatures in North America was during March.

  62. JP says:

    “Am I the only person here apart from george e. smith who is just a little worried by the NOAA report? By the Australian heatwave and bush fires? Am I the only true skeptic present, always prepared to change my mind or refine my theories whenever new data comes in?”

    Old Fossil,
    I suppose you are. If you only chase headlines you may be surprised that for every Austrailian Heat wave there is a Bangledesh cold snap (Bangledesh is the tropics/subtropics, BTW); for every heat wave in the US, there is a cold snap in East Europe, etc… Globally, 2012 wasn’t much to write home about from a statistical point of view. And one can say the same about the last 2 decades. So, if you wish to argue over hundreths of a degree C variations in temps, be my guest. Additionally, the GCMs run by the Alarmists have over shot their temp projections (based on CO2 cocentrations) by an obscene magnitude (on the warm side) going back to Hansen and 1988. The Alarmists also cannot with any precision model changes in ENSO. And if you can’t forecast what ENSO is going to do you lost the ball game.

  63. Brad says:

    On changing the past temp data:

    NOAA spokesperson Scott Smullen:
    “These kinds of improvements get us even closer to the true climate signal, and help our nation even more accurately understand its climate history.”

    Government climate scientist Peter Thorne:
    “These have been shown through at least three papers that have appeared in the past 12 months to be an improvement.”

  64. Gunga Din says:

    I don’t know if this directly relates but I stumbled on this today.
    http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/climo/summaries/warm2012.php
    What caught my eye was that Cincinnati has the longest record and that 5 of the 10 hottest years there were in the 1800’s.
    Just something to ponder.

  65. BruceC says:

    Top Ten U.S. Weather/Climate Events for 2012

    item #4 – Record Wildfire Activity

    According to the National Fire Information Center;

    http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

    2012 YTD (1/1/2012 – 12/21/2012) – Fires: 67,300; Acres: 9,208,454

    2006 (1/1/06 – 12/21/06) – Fires: 96,147; Acres: 9,830,521

    2007 (1/1/07 – 12/21/07) – Fires: 85,456; Acres: 9,313,613

    Huh???

  66. BruceC says:

    In addition to the above, in 1980 there were 234,892 fires reported (5,260,825 acres).

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