Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Tuesday 01/08/13

2012--Warm And Dry

The year 2012 is in the history books as a truly historic year for temperatures--the warmest on record in the continental U.S. That's just one of the many points in NOAA's year-end climate summary that was posted this week.

Following are some of the highlight points in the report. Links to the full Summary Report and the entire 2012 Climate Report are at the end of this roundup.--Bryce

Twitter: @BAndersonDTN

Summary Information

2012 was warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.

2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average

2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 deg F, 3.2 deg F above the 20th century average, and 1.0 deg F above 1998, the previous warmest year.

The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.

The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. The index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as land-falling tropical cyclones, was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998. To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast-Ohio Valley.

U.S. temperature

•2012 Statewide Temperature (top) ranks

Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. Nineteen states had a record warm year and an additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.

• On the national scale, 2012 started off much warmer than average with the fourth warmest winter (December 2011-February 2012) on record. Winter warmth limited snow with many locations experiencing near-record low snowfall totals. The winter snow cover for the contiguous U.S. was the third smallest on record and snowpack totals across the Central and Southern Rockies were less than half of normal.

• Spring started off exceptionally warm with the warmest March on record, followed by the fourth warmest April and second warmest May. The season’s temperature was 5.2°F above average, making it easily the warmest spring on record, surpassing the previous record by 2.0°F. The warm spring resulted in an early start to the 2012 growing season in many places, which increased the loss of water from the soil earlier than what is typical. In combination with the lack of winter snow and residual dryness from 2011, the record warm spring laid the foundation for the widespread drought conditions in large areas of the U.S. during 2012.

• The above-average temperatures of spring continued into summer. The national-scale heat peaked in July with an average temperature of 76.9 deg F, 3.6 deg F above average, making it the hottest month ever observed for the contiguous United States. The eighth warmest June, record hottest July, and a warmer-than-average August resulted in a summer average temperature of 73.8 deg F, the second hottest summer on record by only hundredths of a degree. An estimated 99.1 million people experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100 deg F, nearly one-third of the nation’s population.

• Autumn and December temperatures were warmer than average, but not of the same magnitude as the three previous seasons. Autumn warmth in the western U.S. offset cooler temperatures in the eastern half of the country. Although the last four months of 2012 did not bring the same unusual warmth as the first 8 months of the year, the September through December temperatures were warm enough for 2012 to remain the record warmest year by a wide margin.

U.S. precipitation

• The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 26.57 inches was 2.57 inches below average and the 15th driest year on record for the lower 48. This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988 when 25.25 inches of precipitation was observed.

2012 Precipitation ranks

Each season of 2012 had precipitation totals below the 20th century average:

???Winter brought below-average precipitation to both coasts and above-average precipitation to the Southern Plains, slightly lessening drought conditions that plagued the region in 2011. The winter precipitation total was 89 percent of normal.

???Spring precipitation was 95 percent of the 20th century average with below-average precipitation in the Rockies and Midwest and above-average precipitation in the Northwest and Upper Midwest.

???Summer precipitation was 88 percent of normal with dry conditions in the central United States. The West Coast, Gulf Coast, and Northeast were wetter than average.

???Autumn was drier than average for most of the central U.S., with wet conditions in the Northwest, Ohio Valley, and Northeast. The autumn precipitation total was 85 percent of average.

Here is the link to the Climate Report Summary:…

And to the entire Climate Report:…


Posted at 1:54PM CST 01/08/13 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (11)
Neocons will still argue against these numbers,,,, they are from bad emails, thermometers were read by liberals, Al Gore is making so much money with these reports, scientists are Atheists and besides that they claimed global cooling in the 70's!!!! Get ready for a return to the Jurassic age guys, it will take something as tough as a dinosaur to live through massive droughts and Sandy type storms,,,, in the meantime you'll argue with the oil and coal lobbies to keep dumping CO2 in the air until we all drown in the planets great mass extinction. Turn up your Rush radio so you don't hear the above report!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 12:45PM CST 01/09/13
first corinthians 1:27 But "GOD" hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the :WISE: and God hathchosen the weak things of the the world to confound the things which are mighty. Jay i have pity for your soul, yes it will take a man of god to survive what is coming (revelations), not a dinasour, cowboy up
Posted by Unknown at 6:23PM CST 01/10/13
Hey "unknown", I am well aware there is a fringe so called "Christian" element in this country that believes trashing the planet, increasing military spending and promoting everyone to own semi-automatic weapons,,, all this to speedily bring the second coming of a man who taught peace, love and tolerance. But the numbers in the above article point to a human made problem which needs addressing by educated/sane people. I don't wish to hasten the book of revelations by destroying creation and the majority of US citizens feel the same. I was wrong about the dinosaurs, they became extinct from climate change and we may see the same, only self induced.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 5:57AM CST 01/11/13
Doctor Jay, u made my point, thanks,U r not as educated as u think, climate change has been going on since the creation of earth. gOD CREATED THE SIMPLE THINGS TO CONFOUND THE WISE. Apparently u r not one of them.
Posted by Unknown at 11:40AM CST 01/11/13
Also DOCTOR JAY, maybe we need to look at all the violence on tv and video games before we look at guns. I know, since u r educated, that u have heard that guns dont kill people, people do, so untill u can stop that ,there will always be death. Maybe u sgould ask cain why he killed able with his semi-auto club.
Posted by Unknown at 11:54AM CST 01/11/13
Jay... Keep banging your tin can on your head and wearing your uniform, you little organ grinder monkey. Your shrieks sound just like the shrieks of those that you despise, with just a little difference in the octaves being the only way to tell you apart.
Posted by Brandon Butler at 1:44PM CST 01/11/13
thanks Brandon, these educated idiots are , hold that thought, why dont they just leave and create their own etopia
Posted by Unknown at 3:55PM CST 01/11/13
sry spelling utopia
Posted by Unknown at 3:56PM CST 01/11/13
Doctor Jay, many are called but FEW are chosen, sorry so many feel that way, oh and by the way can you explain a fire with no light
Posted by Unknown at 9:31PM CST 01/11/13
Who gives a poop about Al GORED, he looks like a hog to be slaughtered
Posted by Unknown at 10:29PM CST 01/11/13
Autumn precip. at 85% of normal!!!! God we are all saved!!!!! Bryce, while your buddies are in deep thought about what happens next I want everyone know we are not back to normal here in the midwest until we get back the rain shortages that we missed in the past three years. If that happens normal may mean $3.50 corn/$6.00 beans!?! You have to live with what you ask the Lord for somedays! Stay tuned!
Posted by Roger Cooper at 10:07PM CST 01/13/13
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