2012 global temperatures were 10th warmest on record

  • Lia Worth, 7, of Baltimore, a camper of the Nature Nuts Summer Nature Camp at Irvine Nature Center, cools off during a June heat wave. Hours later, a derecho storm fueled by the hot, moist air struck the region.
Lia Worth, 7, of Baltimore, a camper of the Nature Nuts Summer… (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore…)
January 15, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

The average global temperature for 2012 was 10th warmest since record-keeping began in 1880, according to U.S. climate researchers.

The globe averaged about 58 degrees last year, 1.03 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The announcement comes a week after NOAA scientists confirmed that 2012 was the warmest year on record for the U.S. Meanwhile, a separate report released Tuesday highlights Maryland as being among the top 10 states for record-setting heat last year.

Among the details in the NOAA global climate report:

  • It was the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average annual temperature was 1976. 
  • The global annual temperature has risen by an average of 0.11 degrees per decade from 1880 to 2012 and at an average rate of 0.27 degrees per decade over the past 50 years.
  • Other countries experienced varying weather, including Austria with its seventh-warmest year since national records began in 1767, Australia with an average temperature 0.11 degrees above the 1961-1990 average, the United Kingdom with an average temperature 0.2 degrees below the 1981-2010 average, and Norway with its 45th warmest year since 1900.
  • The 2012 global average ocean temperature was 0.81 degrees above the 20th century average of 60.9 degrees, the 10th warmest on record, tied with 2001.
  • Precipitation was average across the globe, on balance, but included droughts in eastern Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and central North America, and wetter than normal weather in western and central Africa, the United Kingdom and Finland.

The hottest temperature recorded on Earth in 2012 was 128.5 degrees July 31 in Kuwait; the coldest was -119.6 degrees Sept. 16 at Vostok, Antarctica, according to data compiled by weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera and shared by the Weather Underground.

In Maryland, nearly one in four climate-monitoring stations set at least one new heat record in 2012, a percentage that ranks the state No. 10 nationwide, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

There were 10 heat records set across the state, most of them during the heat wave that came before and after a deadly derecho thunderstorm struck the region June 29, according to the report.

Nationwide, 3,527 monthly weather records for heat, rain and snow were broken, exceeding the 3,251 records broken in 2011, according to the report.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.

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