2012: The warmest year on record - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

2012: The warmest year on record

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It's official. 2012 is the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States.

The announcement was made by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) on Tuesday January 8, 2013. The average temperature in 2012 was 55.3 degrees F which is 3.2 degrees F above the long term average.

2012 was so warm that it eclipsed the former record set in 1998 by an entire degree, which is considered a large jump in temperature.

Over 40,000 daily temperature records were broken nationwide last year and 19 states--including Illinois--experienced their warmest year on record. Many climate scientists believe the extreme warmth is attributed to more than just a cyclic weather pattern.

"Climate change has had a role in this" said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

He said it isn't clear yet exactly how much of the temperature record was due to climate change compared to natural variability, but that it's unlikely such a record would have occurred without the long-term warming trend caused in large part by emissions of greenhouse gases.

2012 was also ranked 2nd in terms of the most extreme weather. There were 11 natural disasters costing more than a billion dollars each including the drought, Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, the July derechos, several tornado outbreaks and more than 51,000 wildfires.

Statistics courtesy NOAA, Climatecentral.org

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