Summer 2012: 3rd hottest in U.S. history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:48 PM GMT on September 10, 2012

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The summer of 2012 was the 3rd hottest summer in U.S. history, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in today's State of the Climate report. June 2012 ranked as the 14th warmest June on record, August was the 16th warmest August on record, and July was the warmest month of any month in U.S. history, bringing the average summer temperature of the contiguous U.S. just 0.2°F shy of the hottest summer on record--the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936. Second place is held by 2011, which was just 0.1°F cooler than the summer of 1936. So far in 2012, we've had the warmest March on record, 3rd warmest April, 2nd warmest May, and warmest July. These remarkably warm months have helped push temperatures in the contiguous U.S. to the warmest on record for the year-to-date period of January - August. Temperatures this year in the U.S. have been so far above the previous record--a remarkable 1°F for the year-to-date period--that even if the remainder of 2012 ranks historically in the coldest one-third of September - Decembers on record, 2012 will beat out 1998 for the warmest year in history. Reliable weather records for the U.S. go back to 1895. The most recent 12-month period of September 2011 - August 2012 was the 4th warmest 12-month period in U.S. history, exceeded only by the 12-month periods ending in July, June, and May of this year.


Figure 1. The summer of 2012 was the warmest on record for Wyoming and Colorado, and ranked in the top-ten warmest on record for 22 other states. For the Contiguous U.S., it was the 3rd warmest summer since record keeping began in 1895. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).


Figure 2. Year-to-date temperatures for the contiguous U.S. through August, compared to the previous record warmest years in U.S. history. Outcome scenarios based on persistence of temperature from September through December, the remaining five months of 2012, are shown. Even if the remainder of 2012 ranks historically in the coldest one-third of September - Decembers on record, 2012 will beat out 1998 for the warmest year in history. The January-August 2012 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 58.7°F, 4.0°F above average. The data for 2012 are preliminary. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

Most extreme January - August period on record
The year-to-date period was the most extreme in U.S. history, according to NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought. The CEI was 47% during the year-to-date January - August period. This is the highest value since CEI record-keeping began in 1910, and more than double the average value of 20%. Remarkably, 85% of the contiguous U.S. had maximum temperatures that were in the warmest 10% historically during the first eight months of 2012, and 75% of the U.S. of the U.S. had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%. The percentage area of the U.S. experiencing top-10% drought conditions was 22%, which was the 11th greatest since 1910.


Figure 3. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - August shows that 2012 had the most extreme first eight months of the year on record, with 47% of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% extreme weather.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I don't necessarily agree with that, look at TAWx13 for example, he went through Hurricane Irene and he knows how bad and scary these storms can be, same could be said for anyone who was 14-15 in 2004 who went through Charley, then Frances, Jeanne, and in 2005 Wilma. Same could be said for teens who went through Katrina. I'm surprised CaribBoy's need for a hurricane hasn't been quenched, given how many hurricanes have rolled through his area instead of at the United States.


Well, I was trying to give CaribBoy the benefit of the doubt. From a clinical perspective, a person is usually able to relate concrete and abstract concepts around the age of 12-13. I just thought bumping the age to 14-15 would be a bit less insulting, but still within the realm of appropriate development. Some people don't grasp the relationship of concrete and abstract concepts until 16 or 17... and yet others never do.

Also, going through a hurricane changes your perspective, regardless of age. I'm 32, and I thought hurricanes were kinda exciting too... until I went through Ike (60 miles inland, mind you). Now... I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy, and hurricanes are FAR from "exciting" now.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Hey guys, if you want to read a VERY good article on meteorology, read this:

Link

I'm sure most of you here already appreciate what being a meteorologist really requires and why forecasting is so hard. However, even if you do, it's still a great summary of forecasting and the life of meteorology.
Jedkins, My ex was a USAF forecaster for years, That is where I got interested in weather... He studied at Chanute AFB years ago (now closed). I traveled all over with him enjoying, and not enjoying, many of his assignments.
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Here is a question for the more winter savy forecasters like Levi, judging by the current average SSTs, the strong troughs already dipping down the CONUS, and the developing El Nino, will this winter be cold for the SE CONUS? I recall back in 2009-2010 the winter actually got cold enough to cause the farmers to drain the aquifer in my area and sinkholes started opening up everywhere.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Now dealing with mosquitos, muddy roads, overflowing septic tanks, ecoli, dead fish all over, not my cup of tea, but Carib, I would give it all to you if that would make you happy.


You're such a good boy :-) Though.. you have to know the my area doesn't fear tropical cyclones as long as they don't get stronger than CAT2
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
What city are you in Georgia?


I'm close to Marietta, GA. Just north of it.
Cobb County
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Quoting VR46L:

I dont know but seems that some parts of the world are not going though the increased temperatures that the Gloom Merchants want ...


"Gloom Merchants"? What is this, junior high?

Don't let emotions cloud your judgement. Review the data for yourself. There are dishonest brokers in every political argument, but the beautiful thing about this modern age is that we all have access to some amazing data and we can do our own research:



Year to date anomaly map:

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Well i got a white christmas 2010 so we have to push the limits now.....I'm sorta hoping for a blizzard of '93 in GA...or at least 10+inches of prolonged snwo
What city are you in Georgia?
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Hey guys, if you want to read a VERY good article on meteorology, read this:

Link

I'm sure most of you here already appreciate what being a meteorologist really requires and why forecasting is so hard. However, even if you do, it's still a great summary of forecasting and the life of meteorology.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Whatever happened to the old days when wishing for a White Christmas was enough....?

I miss those days.


Well i got a white christmas 2010 so we have to push the limits now.....I'm sorta hoping for a blizzard of '93 in GA...or at least 10+inches of prolonged snwo
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



At age 15, i agree with You instead of Jeff on this one..

But also in Cariboy's defense, i dont think he is looking for a major hurricane or anything, i think he said a cat1 or so for rain purposes, i guess he is so concerned about rain..
I'm not sure if he even is a kid either.
A Cat 1 can do significant damage........Been there
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I don't necessarily agree with that, look at TAWx13 for example, he went through Hurricane Irene and he knows how bad and scary these storms can be, same could be said for anyone who was 14-15 in 2004 who went through Charley, then Frances, Jeanne, and in 2005 Wilma. Same could be said for teens who went through Katrina. I'm surprised CaribBoy's need for a hurricane hasn't been quenched, given how many hurricanes have rolled through his area instead of at the United States.



At age 15, i agree with You instead of Jeff on this one..

But also in Cariboy's defense, i dont think he is looking for a major hurricane or anything, i think he said a cat1 or so for rain purposes, i guess he is so concerned about rain..
I'm not sure if he even is a kid either.
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The wishcasters should take a page from the twister chasers. Rent a decent-sized boat and point it in the general path of whatever storm they hope makes a beeline for the coast. Why wait for a Cat 4 come to you when you can come to the Cat 4? That's how it happens in Russia, from what I'm to understand.
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Quoting unknowncomic:
Mother nature has a knack at making up for what you've been missing.
Do you have a paper bag over your head?
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Ok, Mike. Just please don't start making posts about the latest Kardashian news. Thanks!


Hey! I do have some dignity left! LOL
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Mother nature has a knack at making up for what you've been missing.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I suppose like wishcasting, the term warmcasting can also apply on this blog I am learning...
I'm wishing for a cold and wet winter here in the Southeast like we had in 2009, so we can get some wintry precip.
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Getting pretty noisy here.... Looks like another line of thunderstorms coming through
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By the Way Post 40 You added that second part ... I brought a valid point that you and others didnt want to hear as it did not suit your agenda
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Quoting Grothar:


Who is Lindsey Lohan?


She is Lindsay Lohan's cousin.

Lindsay Lohan
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Look for activity to start bubbling in the Caribbean around the start of Oct.

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Quoting Grothar:


Who is Lindsey Lohan?
She drove a VW
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Quoting VR46L:


Careful! I got my legs cut off me on Thursday when I brought up that point lol.


Well, it is pretty easy to research, but I happen to have friends from both parts of the world, so I can get some info first hand. The Olympics and Wimbeldon were both rainy and cool, and my friend in Australia says it has been one of the harshest winters on
record.

Interesting, how just like in tropical weather, it seems to be a bust if you didn't get the storm, or in this case the cool weather. Not only that, most of us in the Southeast US are wondering what all the hot talk is about since we have been normal. Some folks down here in LA and MS are still not back to life as usual due to that slow, prolific rain producer Isaac though.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Or, put in another way - Be careful of which you wish for. You may get your wish. That night on the town with Lindsey Lohan did not work out so well.
And Miley's terrible haircut
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High Arctic ice melt is probably leading to cooler winter in North America for 2012-13 season.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Or, put in another way - Be careful of which you wish for. You may get your wish. That night on the town with Lindsey Lohan did not work out so well.


Who is Lindsey Lohan?
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Not true; most of Europe has been very hot this summer.

Link

Link


I spent a lot of time in Norway and Sweden this year, as you know. The summer wasn't too bad, both days were very nice.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Not true; most of Europe has been very hot this summer.

Link

Link


But some were not ....

UK Met office offical Link

Link

Met eireann Offical Link

Link


I dont know but seems that some parts of the world are not going though the increased temperatures that the Gloom Merchants want ...
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Quoting Grothar:
The first bad thing to do is wish for something. The second bad thing is getting your wish.


Or, put in another way - Be careful of which you wish for. You may get your wish. That night on the town with Lindsey Lohan did not work out so well.
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Honestly why are people getting on other people about wishing storms their way, let them be, if it happens it's not because that said person wished the storm their way, it's because the steering and other atmospheric factors led the storm that way. And if you have a problem with that person don't rant on about it, just ignore him/her.
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Quoting jeffs713:

Considering how CaribBoy is acting like they are about 14 or 15, the damage and nightmares a hurricane can inflict simply is not "real". At the age of 15, adolescents just aren't able to put abstract concepts into concrete terms. They can't understand the horror of having your roof ripped off, or having a slow-moving wall of water taller than you are slowly flooding your house. They can't understand the despair when someone realizes their entire life just got ruined by some rain and a tree in their roof. They can't understand how a "mere" tropical storm can take a life - a person that could be a mom, a dad, a wife, husband, or child.

They can't understand it until it impacts them. And when it impacts them, they will forever be changed, and regret their foolish statements "wishing" for the storm. They will regret them because they feel guilty - in some sense, they wished someone's life to be turned inside out, or someone's family member to die.


I don't necessarily agree with that, look at TAWx13 for example, he went through Hurricane Irene and he knows how bad and scary these storms can be, same could be said for anyone who was 14-15 in 2004 who went through Charley, then Frances, Jeanne, and in 2005 Wilma. Same could be said for teens who went through Katrina. I'm surprised CaribBoy's need for a hurricane hasn't been quenched, given how many hurricanes have rolled through his area instead of at the United States.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
Quoting CaribBoy:
12Z GFS STILL BORING! WTF THE STORM BEHIND 91L WOULD ASLO BE A FISH!!!!!!!!


Semi-Perm Leslie and Michael are keeping the door open. 91L (14L) will continue to keep the door open. Until there is a lull in activity long enough to allow the ridge to rebuild, they will all re-curve well east of the islands.
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I'm still learning how this effects the weather here on Earth, storm activity and heat wise.

Second M-Class Flare
For the second straight day, a long duration M-Class flare was observed around Sunspot 1564. The latest event reached M1.2 and peaked at 22:36 UTC Sunday evening. Image below by SDO.

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Again
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Quoting katrinaeyewall:
Other parts of the world have been having cooler than normal temperatures such as Europe and Australia.


Yep, some regions are cooler than normal. But much larger regions of the globe are much farther out of normal in the warm direction:

(EDIT: whoops! had the wrong link there at first)
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.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
Quoting jeffs713:

Considering how CaribBoy is acting like they are about 14 or 15, the damage and nightmares a hurricane can inflict simply is not "real". At the age of 15, adolescents just aren't able to put abstract concepts into concrete terms. They can't understand the horror of having your roof ripped off, or having a slow-moving wall of water taller than you are slowly flooding your house. They can't understand the despair when someone realizes their entire life just got ruined by some rain and a tree in their roof. They can't understand how a "mere" tropical storm can take a life - a person that could be a mom, a dad, a wife, husband, or child.

They can't understand it until it impacts them. And when it impacts them, they will forever be changed, and regret their foolish statements "wishing" for the storm. They will regret them because they feel guilty - in some sense, they wished someone's life to be turned inside out, or someone's family member to die.
jeff, I guess if he is that young it's his parents that endure the pain monetarily and he is off with his friends having fun.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Not hard to get, Hard to understand why you would like the damage and the pain in the butt trouble trying to get things back to normal..

Considering how CaribBoy is acting like they are about 14 or 15, the damage and nightmares a hurricane can inflict simply is not "real". At the age of 15, adolescents just aren't able to put abstract concepts into concrete terms. They can't understand the horror of having your roof ripped off, or having a slow-moving wall of water taller than you are slowly flooding your house. They can't understand the despair when someone realizes their entire life just got ruined by some rain and a tree in their roof. They can't understand how a "mere" tropical storm can take a life - a person that could be a mom, a dad, a wife, husband, or child.

They can't understand it until it impacts them. And when it impacts them, they will forever be changed, and regret their foolish statements "wishing" for the storm. They will regret them because they feel guilty - in some sense, they wished someone's life to be turned inside out, or someone's family member to die.
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Quoting katrinaeyewall:
Other parts of the world have been having cooler than normal temperatures such as Europe and Australia.
Not true; most of Europe has been very hot this summer, while most of Australia has been normal to just above normal.

Link

Link

Link
Quoting VR46L:


Careful! I got my legs cut off me on Thursday when I brought up that point lol.
I don't know that you got your legs cut off--but your statement was corrected.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13790
The first bad thing to do is wish for something. The second bad thing is getting your wish.
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I think we'll see a nasty, nasty winter for US East Coast and Western Europe, based on what's going on this melt season in the Artic. Time will tell I guess.

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I read an interesting article in yesterday's New York Times Magazine. The title was enough to make me want to read it - "The Weatherman is not a Moron".

Link
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Quoting CaribBoy:


You already had fun with Isaac. Now It's my turn.. I want a GOOD TS!!!!! Damn why is that so hard to get
Now dealing with mosquitos, muddy roads, overflowing septic tanks, ecoli, dead fish all over, not my cup of tea, but Carib, I would give it all to you if that would make you happy.
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35. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:

Isn't there also the atmospheric lag between the cooling of the air above the ocean up into the higher atmosphere.


I mentioned that in #54 (last blog)& for the short term it holds true. That's why numbers are averaged across 3 months. It takes 5 months of 3 month averages at 0.5 or above before it's an official El Nino event. We are so far from that. We need atleast a 3 month average to call it official El Nino conditions. JJA (June, July, Aug) is 0.1, Region 1-3 have already weakened, JAS will average warmer but historically the trend just isn't that fast.

Bigger overall is the shift in polar cool spot, we've been noting how this is probability over riding ENSO. This would normally wobble around a bit but not any more during summer..I'd say the UK and NW Europe are in for many a wet cold summers while Greenland has ice. The new polar summer cool spot set up a High over Greenland all summer long, rearranging the lows & highs, precipitation & such in a some what stagnate pattern. I generated this graph for a 100 days of summer..sea level pressure anomaly..it's been a consistent summer, don't expect any big change for second 1/2 with all that sea ice gone.

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Quoting CaribBoy:


You already had fun with Isaac. Now It's my turn.. I want a GOOD TS!!!!! Damn why is that so hard to get
Not hard to get, Hard to understand why you would like the damage and the pain in the butt trouble trying to get things back to normal..
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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