2015 Registers As 2nd Hottest Year On Record in U.S.

Chris Carnevale | January 8, 2016 | Climate Change, Extreme Weather

2015 was the second hottest year on record in the United States, according to news released yesterday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The 2015 annual average U.S. temperature was 54.4°F, 2.4°F above the 20th century average, the second warmest year on record. Only 2012 was warmer for the U.S. with an average temperature of 55.3°F. This is the 19th consecutive year the annual average temperature exceeded the 20th century average. – NOAA 2015 Annual U.S. Climate Report Summary

The Southeast was particularly warm in 2015, with Florida experiencing its warmest year on record, and the coastal states between Louisiana and North Carolina experiencing 93-98 percentile warm years.

Along with the heat, came excessive precipitation in 2015.

The average contiguous U.S. precipitation was 34.47 inches, 4.53 inches above average, and ranked as the third wettest year in the 121-year period of record. Only 1973 and 1983 were wetter. The central and southeastern U.S. was much wetter than average, while parts of the West and Northeast were drier than average. The national drought footprint shrank about 10 percent during the course of the year. – NOAA 2015 Annual U.S. Climate Report Summary

2015-billion-dollar-disaster-mapThere were 10 billion-dollar natural disasters in the U.S. in 2015, which is consistent with the last 5 years (average 10.8/year), but twice as many as we had on average from 1980-2015 (5.2 average). The only billion-dollar disaster to hit the Southeast in 2015 was the epic flooding in South Carolina in early October.

Deke Arndt, chief of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring Branch, said at a press conference yesterday, “The fact is that we live in a warming world […] We’re going to be dealing with more extreme heat events and more extreme rainfall events,” consistent with what we saw this year.

It is also extremely likely that 2015 will be the single hottest year on record globally, but global temperature analysis will not be released until later this month.

NOAA will publish more details and analysis when they publish their full 2015 annual climate report next week.

Chris Carnevale
Chris is SACE’s Climate Advocacy Director. Chris joined the SACE staff in 2011 to help with building public understanding and engagement around clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. Chris…
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