It is becoming increasingly commonplace for record temperatures to occur globally. The increasing influence of global warming is a major contributing factor, with greenhouse gases increasing in the atmosphere daily. In fact we have seen 327 consecutive months where the monthly temperatures have been warmer than the 20th century average. So while recent data regarding the state of the temperatures in the beginning of 2012 are concerning, they are not a new trend.
March was the warmest on record, breaking more than 15,000 records across the United States. April was the third warmest April on record in the U.S. and the fifth warmest globally. The twelve month period between May 2011 and April 2012 was the warmest on record, that is until May statistics came in to the National Climatic Data Center.
The monthly State of the Climate report was recently released and indicated that there is yet again a new warmest twelve month period ever recorded: June 2011 through May 2012. The average temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit was 0.4 degrees warmer than the previous record holder, May 2011 through April 2012. Also, overall the contiguous U.S. national temperatures from January through May were record breaking, including record temperatures for the spring season alone.
March 1st through May 31st exhibited an average of 57.1 degrees Fahrenheit. This is 5.2 degrees warmer than the 20th century average. It is also a full 2 degrees warmer than the previous record holder of 1910. Forty-two states had spring temperatures which made it into the top ten warmest springs on record, thirty-one of which had spring temperatures in 2012 become their current record holders. The state of Washington is the only state which did not exhibit above average temperatures in the contiguous U.S..
The report stated: “The 12-month period encapsulated the second-warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and the warmest spring on record. […] The spring of 2012 was the culmination of the warmest March, third-warmest April, and the second-warmest May. This marks the first time that all three months during the spring season ranked among the top 10 warmest since record-keeping began in 1895.”