2012 likely hottest year on record

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With just weeks left in the year, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has said that its data indicates that 2012 will likely go down in the history as the hottest year on record for the contiguous United States.

According to a report by NBC News, experts at the NCDC say there is a 99.7 percent chance that this will happen. Considering that the first week of December has already been unseasonably warm, it would take an extreme temperature drop for the remainder of the year for 2012 to fall just short of the record.  

"For 2012 not to be record warm, December would have to be unprecedented," Jake Crouch, scientist at the NCDC told NBC News. "December temperatures would need to be more than 1 degree F colder than the coldest December on record, which occurred in 1983."

The odds of such a cold December occurring are less than 0.3 percent. Read more from NBC News here.

The NCDC released its monthly “State of the Climate” report update on Thursday, which states that the average temperature from January to November was 57.1 degrees F. This is 1 degree F above the previous record set from January to November in 1934.

The report also mentioned this year has been the 12th driest on record for the Lower 48 with a precipitation total 3.08 inches below the long-term average of 26.91 inches. Currently, 62 percent of the continental U.S. is in moderate or worse drought.  Read the full report here.

Many states are still reeling from the effects of this summer’s heat wave and the relentless drought that has yet to lift. According to a report from The Chadron (Neb.) Record, the drought cost Nebraska’s corn crop $240 million, and researchers at Oklahoma State University have estimated that drought losses in Oklahoma have already topped more than $400 million this year. If conditions don't improve soon, some experts believe that more than 25 percent of the country's winter wheat could be abandoned. Read more here.

Iowa State climate expert Elwynn Taylor expects below-trend corn yields again in 2013 for what could be the fourth straight year. Using a corn trend yield of 160 bushels per acre (bpa), Taylor sees 2013 yields at 147 bpa. Last year, the USDA estimated the drought-plagued corn to hit 122.3 bpa for 2012. Read, “Iowa State climate expert sees lower corn yields 2013.”



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