Greensboro, NC -- The National Climatic Data Center announced on Tuesday that 2012 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States.
The average temperature in the lower 48 for 2012 was 55.3°F. This was 3.2°F above the 20th century average. The previous record was 54.3°F which was set in 1998. According to NOAA scientists, the year also consisted of the fourth warmest winter, a record warm spring, the second warmest summer, and a warmer than-average autumn.
UPDATE: Meteorologist Grant Gilmore spoke with Climate Scientist Jake Crouch with the National Climatic Data Center about this report and what a climate report such as the one for 2012 could translate to for local impacts in the future. When asked what will happen if conditions continue on their current trend Crouch replied, "We can expect to see more prolonged droughts, more intense droughts, and like this winter and the winter before, warm winter seasons. We will see an early emergence of pests, that will have impacts on crops, that will also have impact on people's pets with flees and ticks".
Other notable figures provided by the National Climatic Data Center from 2012 include:
9 - the number of consecutive 12-month periods ending in 2012 now make up the nine warmest in the CONUS record.
356 - the number of all-time record high maximum temperatures known to be tied or broken in the United States.
4 - the number of all-time record low minimum temperatures known to be tied or broken in the United States.
19 - the number of states that had their warmest annual period.
65.5 - the percent of the contiguous U.S. that was experiencing drought in September, a record in the 14-year United States Drought Monitor history.
99.1 - the number (in millions) of people that experienced 10 or more days of temperatures that reached or exceeded 100°F.
13.88 - the number of feet of storm surge from Post-tropical storm Sandy measured at The Battery in New York City Harbor.
9.2 - the number (millions) of acres that burned due to wildfire in the CONUS during 2012.
113 - the new all-time warmest temperature observed in South Carolina, set June 28 in Columbia.
19 - the number of named storms, tying 2011, 2010, 1995, and 1887 as the third busiest year for North Atlantic tropical cyclones.
190 - the number of consecutive days (June 24th and December 31st 2012) without a tornado-related fatality. Second to October 15th 1986 and February 28th 1987 (197 days).
16 - the number of consecutive months with contiguous U.S. temperatures above long-term average (June 2011-September 2012). Longest such streak on record.
North Carolina experienced it's 6th warmest year on record with Greensboro experiencing it's 3rd warmest year on record. The hottest temperature in Greensboro in 2012 was 100 degrees on July 8th.