The globally-averaged temperature for 2012 marked the 10th warmest year since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average annual temperature was 1976. Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century (2001-2012) rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record. Only one year during the 20st century -- 1998 -- was warmer than 2012.
Most areas of the world experienced higher-than-average annual temperatures, including most of North and South America, most of Europe and Africa, and western, southern, and far northeastern Asia. Meanwhile, most of Alaska, far western Canada, central Asia, parts of the eastern and equatorial Pacific, southern Atlantic, and parts of the Southern Ocean were notably cooler than average. Additionally, the Arctic experienced a record-breaking ice melt season while the Antarctic ice extent was above average.
2012 Global temperature highlights
- 2012 was the 10th warmest year since records began in 1880. The globally-averaged annual combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). The margin of error is ± 0.08°C (0.14°F).
- 2012 also marked the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last colder-than-average year was 1976.
- Record to near-record warm land surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere from April to September and overall warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures made the first 11 months of the year the eighth warmest on record. However, extreme cold across much of the Northern Hemisphere land during December helped lower the year-to-date temperature departure from average by 0.02°C (0.04°F) compared with the previous month.
- The global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.06°C (0.11°F) per decade sine 1880 and at an average rate of 0.16°C (0.28°F) per decade since 1970.
- The 2012 worldwide land surface temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average, making it the seventh warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ± 0.18°C (0.32°F).
- Some national highlights are included below:
- The contiguous United States had its warmest year since national records began in 1895, surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.6°C (1.0°F).
- Austria experienced its seventh warmest year since national records began in 1767, at 1.0°C (1.8°F) above the long-term average.
- With the first half of 2012 cooler than average and the second half warmer than average, on balance the annual 2012 temperature across Australia was 0.06°C (0.11°F) above the 1961-1990 average. Only the year 2011 has been below average in the past decade.
- The 2012 temperature across the United Kingdom was 0.1°C (0.2°F) below the 1981-2010 average. This is in part attributed to the UK's coolest summer since 1998 and coolest autumn since 1993.
- Norway had its 45th warmest year since record began in 1900, at 0.4°C (0.7°F) above average.
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