Last week plenty of headlines about 2012 being the "warmest on record in the lower 48" and even more dramatic about 2012 being the "hottest year ever". Was it really? Sort of. Indeed for weather records(1895-2012) last year (for the lower 48 states) was 3.2° above the 20th century average and 1° above the previous "warmest year" of 1998. Here are the state rankings with many states (but sure not Alaska) recording their warmest year in 100+ years.
But the temperatures for 2012 in other parts of the world sure were not as high as in the lower 48. Tomorrow NASA and NOAA will release an analysis of global temperatures for 2012. Ready for a preview? Here it is.
This is the global temperature differences for 2012 from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The record 2012 warmth over the U.S. sure shows, but look at Alaska, colder than average and globally, western Alaska may have been below average more than any other area. Colder than average in Siberia, central Asia and Scandanavia. But on this analysis, the polar regions, especially temperatures in the Arctic, were much above average. This past year, in September there was a record low area of the Arctic covered by sea ice so another "warm" year in the Arctic is hardly surprising. Finally and importantly, while there were sure some cold areas in 2012 across the globe, the continuing trend of greatest warming at highest latitudes, agrees with what some of the earliest, crude climate models were suggesting about 40 years ago. Observations more and more are supporting theory and simulations of what our future climate might be. Science works. Let's see what NASA and NOAA say tomorrow :>)