Data show US experiencing hottest year on record thus far

Federal data released Thursday show the United States has had its warmest spring, it's warmest year to date, and warmest 12-month stretch on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released figures showing that temperatures during the March-May period in the contiguous United States were far above average, according to records dating back over a century.

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“The spring season's (March-May) nationally averaged temperature was 57.1°F, 5.2°F above the 1901-2000 long-term average, surpassing the previous warmest spring (1910) by 2.0°F,” NOAA reported.

NOAA, citing temperature data that extend back to the late 1800s, also reported that the first five months of 2012 were the warmest on record for the lower-48 states.

The average 2012 January-May temperature of 49.2 degrees was 5 degrees above the long-term average, while the last 12 months were also record-breaking. From NOAA:

The June 2011-May 2012 period was the warmest 12-month period of any 12 months on record for the contiguous United States. The nationally averaged temperature of 56.0°F was 3.2°F above the long-term average, surpassing the previous warmest 12-month period set last month by 0.4°F. The 12-month period encapsulated the second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter, and the warmest spring on record. Every state across the contiguous U.S. had warmer than average temperatures for the period, except Washington, which was near normal.

The month of May itself, however, did not set a new benchmark. The average of 64.3 degrees was 3.3 degrees above the long-term average, but that only made it the second-warmest on record.


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