99.999% chance 2012 will be hottest year on record for continental U.S

December 13, 2012

Climate Central says there is a "99.99999999 percent chance that 2012 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental U.S."

2012 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record across the 48 contiguous United States, says a new analysis [PDF] published by Climate Central.

The report puts the probability of 2012 being the warmest year on record at "99.99999999 percent" based on data from the first eleven months of the year.

"2012 isn’t just going to break the previous record, 2012 is looking to smash it, by more than 1°F," stated the group's web site. "Climate Central projects the 2012 average temperature for the continental U.S. at 55.34°F compared to the previous record set in 1998 of 54.32°F. For perspective, 1°F is one quarter of the difference between the coldest and warmest years ever recorded in the continental U.S."

So in all likelihood, 2012 will displace 1998 as the hottest year, followed by 2006, 1934 and 1999. Climate Central notes that "seven of the top 10 warmest years in the 48 states have occurred in the past 15 years."

2012 is expected to be one of the warmest years on record globally, although it will likely rank behind 2005 and 2010. Global temperature have risen by around 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past century, primarily the result of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.

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99.999% chance 2012 will be hottest year on record for continental U.S.