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This year will likely be our hottest on record for the contiguous U.S.

CarrieLibbyHill

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – This year is on pace to become the warmest year on record for the contiguous U.S., after another warmer-than-average month in September.

September 2012 was the 16th consecutive month with above average temperatures for the Lower 48, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. NOAA says, “The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during September was 67.0°F, 1.4°F above the long-term average, tying September 1980 as the 23rd warmest such month on record.” Central Virginia is one region in the country that experienced a warmer-than-average September, as shown on this map.

NOAA Climate.gov

Here are the state-by-state rankings:

With another warmer-than-average month this year, that continues our warmer-than-average trend that has been consistent every month this year. In fact, most of our months have been warmer than the months that led to our warmest years known for the contiguous U.S.

NOAA NCDC: This time series shows the 2012 year-to-date temperature through September, which was the warmest first nine months of any year on record for the lower 48. The year-to-date evolution of the contiguous U.S. temperatures for each year back to 1895 are also shown, with the five warmest and five coolest years highlighted. The January-September 2012 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 59.8°F, 3.8°F above average. The data for 2012 are preliminary.

As we enter complete our final three months of this year, it is likely that 2012 will end up being the warmest year on record. Check out some of the scenarios plotted below.

NOAA NCDC: This time series also shows the 2012 year-to-date temperature through September. Outcome scenarios based on persistence of temperature from October through December, the remaining four months of 2012, are shown. The January-September 2012 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 59.8°F, 3.8°F above average. The data for 2012 are preliminary.

The odds are pretty high that we will ring in the New Year on the heels of our hottest year on record. For this not to happen, we’d have to experience a seriously early and bitterly cold end of Fall and beginning of Winter.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) also adds, “The January-September period was the warmest first nine months of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 59.8°F was 3.8°F above the 20th century average, and 1.2°F above the previous record warm January-September of 2006. During the nine-month period, 46 states had temperatures among their ten warmest, with 25 states being record warm. Only Washington had statewide temperatures near average for the period.”

In addition, NCDC provides the following perspective on our warming trend, “The October 2011-September 2012 period was the warmest such 12-month period on record for the contiguous U.S., with an average temperature of 56.2°F, 3.2°F above average. This 12-month temperature average tied the June 2011-May 2012 period as the 3rd warmest of any 12-month period. The six warmest 12-month periods have all ended during 2012.”

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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