Many may have guessed this already, but the first half of 2012 was the warmest six months in a calendar year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's data, released on Monday.
The NOAA reported that the average temperature for 2012, through June, was 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit, about 4.5 degrees higher than the long-term average for the same period.
The New York Times noted that that is "1.5 degrees warmer on average than the second hottest temperatures recorded, in 2006."
The Guardian published highlights from the report:
- Most of the contiguous United States was record or near-record warm for the six-month period, except the Pacific Northwest.
- 28 states east of the Rockies hit record warm temperatures.
- 15 other states were top ten warm.
- The period was also drier than average with precipitation at 1.62 inches bellow the national average.
The BBC said the last year was the hottest since record-keeping began in 1985, according to government scientists.
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The percentage of the contiguous US experiencing drought went up from 37 percent to 56 percent in the first six months of 2012, according to The Times. Colorado, which has been ravaged by wildfires, experienced a June that was 6.4 degrees higher than its historical average.
According to the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center's climate scientist Jake Crouch, the jet stream has remained far north of its usual location since December, contributing to the warmest winter and spring on record, USA Today reported.
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More than 170 all-time heat records were broken or tied during the latter half of June, said the BBC. Forecasters now predict that hot weather could plague the Western US and Canada.
Crouch told Reuters, "It's hard to pinpoint climate change as the driving factor, but it appears that it is playing a role." He added, "What's going on for 2012 is exactly what we would expect from climate change."