Very warm November assures 2012 will be warmest year in U.S. history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:39 PM GMT on December 07, 2012

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The heat is on again in the U.S. After recording its first cooler-than-average month in sixteen months during October, the U.S. heated up considerably in November, notching its 20th warmest November since 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. The warm November virtually assures that 2012 will be the warmest year on record in the U.S. The year-to-date period of January - November has been by far the warmest such period on record for the contiguous U.S.--a remarkable 1.0°F above the previous record. During the 11-month period, 18 states were record warm and an additional 24 states were top ten warm. The December 2011 - November 2012 period was the warmest such 12-month period on record for the contiguous U.S., and the eight warmest 12-month periods since record keeping began in 1895 have all ended during 2012. December 2012 would have to be 1°F colder than our coldest December on record (set in 1983) to prevent the year 2012 from being the warmest in U.S. history. This is meteorologically impossible, given the recent December heat in the U.S. As wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt reported, an early-December heat wave this week set records for warmest December temperature on record in seven states. December 2012 is on pace to be a top-20% warmest December on record in the U.S.

November 2012 was the 8th driest November on record for the U.S., and twenty-two states had top-ten driest Novembers. The area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought grew from 59% on November 6 to 62% on December 6. This is the largest area of the U.S. in drought since 1954.


Figure 1. Historical temperature ranking for the U.S. for November 2012. Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming had top-ten warmest Novembers, while only North Carolina had a top-ten coldest November. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).


Figure 2. Historical temperature ranking for the U.S. for the January - November period. Eighteen states were record warm, and an additional 24 states were top ten warm. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Most extreme January - November period on record
The year-to-date January - November period was the most extreme on record in the contiguous U.S., 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 46% in January - November, more than double the average of 20%. A record 86% of the contiguous U.S. had maximum temperatures that were in the warmest 10% historically during the first eleven months of 2012, and 71% of the U.S. of the U.S. had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%--2nd highest on record. The percentage area of the U.S. experiencing top-10% drought conditions was 32%, which was the 4th greatest since 1910. Only droughts in the Dust Bowl year of 1934, and during 1954 and 1956, were more extreme for the January - November period. Heavy 1-day downpours have been below average so far in 2012, though, with 9% of nation experiencing a top-10% extreme, compared to the average of 10%.


Figure 3. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - November shows that 2012 had the most extreme first eleven months of the year on record, with 46% of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% extreme weather-more than double the average of 20%.

Jeff Masters

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This is a satellite image SE of Typhoon Bopha. This looks like a rocket trail and weather modification. If it is, it may suck the typhoon into Manila.

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Quoting wxmod:


Anxiety in the Philippines must be at an all time high. No tellin where this storm will go.
yes if i lived there..seeing what happened to my south..I'd be scared to death and preparing hurriedly for sure best i could..they dont have any I-75 to leave on..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
That 2012 line is plain scary. We were warned that climate change would not be a gradual process everywhere, but would often 'lurch' into new regional climatic regimes.

The recently elucidated 'Arctic dipole' may be an example of this, and it seems to be making the jet stream more erratic. The jet stream has a huge influence on regional weather.

Too soon to make any connection between the jet stream and record US temperatures and drought, but if they are connected, I can only see things getting worse.
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Quoting yoboi:


all is fair we have to say happy holidays now....

Not me!
I hope I have a Happy Christmas, and I hope you do as well.
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Thanks Doc.
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Quoting pottery:

Good Grief.


all is fair we have to say happy holidays now....
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Quoting nymore:
Perhaps you could all not be so racist and more pc in your use of Indian Summer.

Good Grief.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Sure, Indian Summer. That came after Indian Spring. Which came after Indian Winter. Which happened after Indian Autumn...

Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot
Perhaps you could all not be so racist and more pc in your use of Indian Summer.
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Thanks Jeff...
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Thanks for the updated blog Dr. Masters.
Quoting you:

"The warm November virtually assures that 2012 will be the warmest year on record in the U.S. "

Some sobering truth..
Once again thanks..
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While we haven't broken many records we've stayed above normal. It's 71 here already.

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Thanks Dr Masters
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Quoting LargoFl:
I just cannot imagine how I would feel..say a Cat-5 out in the gulf..headed My way..those poor people over there,most probably didnt know just How Bad its going to be..one cannot know until i guess you have lived thru one huh...oh we can read and see pictures..but the sheer horror at the strength of those winds and rain..the howling winds..tree's falling..roof's being torn off..people screaming...geez..a total nightmare

And all of that, so very far south.
Terrible.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Sure, Indian Summer. That came after Indian Spring. Which came after Indian Winter. Which happened after Indian Autumn...

Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot
I hear ya!
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Quoting LargoFl:
Navy model for it............


Anxiety in the Philippines must be at an all time high. No tellin where this storm will go.
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Thank you Dr. Masters
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5898
Thanks Doc.. I also would be interested in a sea level rise blog.

Largo, I was looking at the Navy loop.. maybe it will use up all the warm water and quit killing people..
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I just cannot imagine how I would feel..say a Cat-5 out in the gulf..headed My way..those poor people over there,most probably didnt know just How Bad its going to be..one cannot know until i guess you have lived thru one huh...oh we can read and see pictures..but the sheer horror at the strength of those winds and rain..the howling winds..tree's falling..roof's being torn off..people screaming...geez..a total nightmare
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Thanks DRM. Texas is tumbling back into drought. Warm temps we've got. So far the cool snaps have been just that. Here and gone in a day or two.
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Quoting overwash12:
Indian Summer? Or the dreaded AGW rears it's ugly head again!
Sure, Indian Summer. That came after Indian Spring. Which came after Indian Winter. Which happened after Indian Autumn...

Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot
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Thank you for the new blog Dr. Masters
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1219
So, it seems that (barring a Miracle) 2012 will be the hottest on record in the US. (see above)

What's the current status for the Planet for 2012 ?
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Navy model for it............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
cold front just might make it here next week....
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Quoting ILwthrfan:
Bopha not finished yet, I wonder how much confidence they have in their forecast considering how she has behaved the last few days?



This would not have to jog far east to the Philippines yet again.

the navy had it looping around in a circle last time i checked,hopefully it will weaken some
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Quoting LargoFl:
Thanks Doc..I would like to ask for a day with sea level rise as a topic if you feel its wise ok..we had a pretty good discussion going in the last blog on it.

I second that.
Thanks for the new blog.
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Bopha not finished yet, I wonder how much confidence they have in their forecast considering how she has behaved the last few days?



This would not have to jog far to the east to effect the Philippines once again.

Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1526
Indian Summer? Or the dreaded AGW rears it's ugly head again!
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Thanks Doc..I would like to ask for a day with sea level rise as a topic if you feel its wise ok..we had a pretty good discussion going in the last blog on it.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39711
Thanks Dr. Masters.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32349

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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.