(NEW YORK) — Last year was a brutally hot one in the contiguous U.S.
Not only did the average temperature of 55.3 degrees prove to be the hottest recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, beating the 1998 record by one degree, but that same temp was 3.2 degrees higher than the 20th-century average.
Dialing it back to the previous year, NOAA said the 16-month stretch from June 2011 through September 2012 featured above normal temperatures during each of those months — the longest period of higher-than-normal heat since records started being kept in 1895.
And if you’re thinking this has something to do with climate change, federal scientists are telling Americans to go right ahead and think that because it’s what they believe too.
Thomas R. Karl, who directs NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, says we should expect to see periods of sustained warmth from here on in, adding, “That doesn’t mean every season and every year is going to be breaking all-time records, but you’re going to see this with increasing frequency.”
This also means that a pledge by world leaders in 2009 to keep global temperatures from rising above pre-industrial levels by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit before the end of the century is likely not possible.
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