The following was originally published at thinkprogress.org and was written by Joe Romm
If you live on the East Coast of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released some statistics that may surprise you:
- Globally, this has been the hottest winter on record, topping the previous record (2007) by 0.05°F.
- This was “the 19th warmest winter for the contiguous US.”
- Globally it’s easily been the hottest start to any year (January-February), beating the previous records (2002, 2007) by 0.07°F.
- This was the second warmest February globally, and “slightly below” the 20th-century average in the contiguous U.S.
In particular, many Western states saw their hottest winter on record — which is not a surprise if you live in drought-stricken California or its neighbors.
Now entering its fourth year, the drought in California is so bad that NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti warned that “the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.” Global warming-driven record heat has made this the worst California drought in 1200 years, as scientists explained in December.
The Earth keeps setting the record for the hottest 12 months in the surface temperature record, in which these records were reported recently. Early indications are that as the year progresses there will be warmer temperature globally — so we are on track for what is likely to be the hottest calendar year on record.
Joe Romm is a Fellow at American Progress and is the Founding Editor of Climate Progress.
The following maps are just a sample of the climate data available on Community Commons. We encourage you to explore our data list by searching “climate”.