ArticleDownload Worksheet January 10th, 2013
2012 Officially Warmest Year on Record
If you felt like you had to turn the air conditioner up extra high this past year, you weren’t just imagining things. According to a new study by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the average temperature in the 48 mainland U.S. states in 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the warmest year ever recorded.
This temperature is 1.0 degree hotter than the previous record set in 1998, and 3.3 degrees above the recorded average temperature of the 20th century. Records on average temperature have been kept since 1895, and show that the U.S. has increased in temperature by about 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since then.
Hawaii and Alaska do not have records going back that far, and are therefore typically excluded from most long-term climate studies.
U.S. passes storm damage record
In addition to rising temperatures, the weather in 2012 passed other milestones, including setting the record for the most storms with damages over $1 billion. According to another NOAA report, the damage from Frankenstorm Sandy, strong winds in the Ohio Valley, wildfires in the western states and a drought that covered most of the middle of the country totaled over $60 billion.
There were 11 storms in all with price tags over the billion-dollar mark.
While scientists say that climate change is playing a role in the erratic weather, Jake Crouch of the National Climatic Data Center at NOAA said that it was impossible to determine which events specifically result from global warming.
However, the Yale Project on Climate Change and Communication found that these disasters influenced how people viewed the subject, with one October survey showing the 74 percent of Americans believed that climate change was at least in part to blame.
See a photo essay on some of the year’s most notorious weather events below.
How hot is hot?
A one degree temperature change may not seem like much, but Crouch told the New York Times that “The heat was remarkable. It was prolonged. That we beat the record by one degree is quite a big deal.”
According to Guy Walton, a Lead Forecaster at the Weather Channel, 2012 saw 362 all-time high temperature records either tied or set, while 0 all-time low temperatures were tied or set.
However, while 2012 was a record for the U.S., the world as a whole experienced only the eighth or ninth warmest year on record. The final numbers on global temperatures will be released in the coming weeks, but if they do confirm the predictions, it will mean that the 10 warmest years on record will all have occurred in the last 15 years.
–Compiled by Allison McCartney for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Local sheriff shares concerns over federal immigration laws
Dozens of cities throughout the United States have been deemed “sanctuary cities,” where local governments resist cooperating with federal immigration officials, including handing over undocumented immigrants who have may committed very minor offenses. Continue readingGovernment & Civicsimmigrationlaw enforcementsanctuary citySocial Studies
Community comes together to help homeless students and families
In order to address the homelessness problem facing students, a school district in Kansas City, Kansas, with over 1,000 homeless students, partnered with Avenue of Life, a nonprofit organization that brings students out of homelessness by supporting the entire family. Continue readingGovernment & CivicshomelesshomelessnesspovertySocial Studies
Student volunteers use technology to monitor human rights abuses
In places where violent conflict makes it difficult for human rights investigators to observe, social media platforms now make it possible to document abuses.Government & Civicshuman rightssocial mediaSocial Studies
Lesson plan: What public libraries can teach us about immigration
In this PBS NewsHour Extra lesson, students will explore what immigration looks like at grassroots levels across the country. Students will research if their community has programs that welcome immigrants and explore options for creating similar civic activities. Continue readingcivic engagementGovernment & CivicsimmigrationlibrarySocial StudiesSRLstudent reporting labs
House Speaker Paul Ryan on immigration ban, Russia
In an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan said he is getting along well with President Donald Trump, although he disagrees with some of the President’s recent statements. Continue readingDonald TrumpGovernment & Civicsimmigration banPaul RyanRussiaSocial Studies