The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

November 16, 2012

2012 has 90 percent chance of becoming warmest year on record in U.S.

BOSTON — This year has a 90 percent chance of ending as the warmest on record in the lower 48 states, the U.S. National Climatic Data Center said Thursday.

Temperatures from January through October were 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 Celsius) higher than the previous mark, set in 1998, and 3.4 degrees above the long-term average, said Jake Crouch, a climatologist at the center in Asheville, N.C. U.S. records go back to 1895.

Warmer-than-normal weather earlier this year reduced the need for energy to heat homes and businesses, and helped push natural gas futures to a 10-year low in April. November and December will have to be "much cooler than average" to keep 2012 from becoming the warmest year ever in the contiguous 48 states, the climate center said.

Globally, temperatures are currently 1.04 degrees above average, on pace for the eighth warmest year on record, according to the center.

At the same time, the extent of snowcover across the Northern Hemisphere in October was the eighth-largest on record, Crouch said in a conference call with reporters. Arctic sea ice was at its second-smallest level in October.

Scientists are still studying the impact sea ice and snowcover have on weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, said Jon Gottschalck, a seasonal forecaster at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md. There is some research that shows less sea ice at the pole and more snowcover across the hemisphere can lead to cooler weather in the eastern U.S.

Because that connection is still being researched, forecasters didn't use it when making their prediction for the next three months, Gottschalck said.

The forecast is for an above-average chance that temperatures will be higher than normal from the Rocky Mountains into Texas and potentially lower than normal across the northern Great Plains. He couldn't predict with any certainty what would happen in the eastern U.S.

Another problem with making a long-range forecast this year is that an El Nino, a warming in the Pacific Ocean, failed to take place as expected, Gottschalck said. El Ninos usually bring warmer-than-normal weather across the northern U.S.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014