What do the University of Alabama football team and the 2012 heat record have in common?
On Monday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to win the BCS national title. This is Alabama’s second straight national title and third in four years.
Not to be outdone, the National Climate Data Center released its State of the Climate report declaring 2012 as the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States.
2012 dethroned 1998 to claim the title, and just like Alabama, it did with style. 2012 was 1 degree warmer than 1998. One degree warmer is a blowout. That’s not like winning by a field goal. It’s more like winning the championship game 42-14.
If you thought Alabama’s numbers were impressive, check out these stats from 2012.
- 55.32 degrees F – average annual temperature for 2012, a record. The old record was 54.32 degrees, set in 1998.
- 356 – number of all-time record high maximum temperatures known to be tied or broken in the United States.
- 4 – weather stations setting all-time low temperatures.
- 99.1 million – number of people who experienced at least 10 days of 100-degree heat.
- 19 – number of states that had their warmest year. An additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.
- 16 – number of consecutive months with contiguous U.S. temperatures above long-term average (June 2011-September 2012), a record.
- 65.5 – percentage of the contiguous U.S. that was experiencing drought in September, a record.
- 2 – warmest months on record, March & July. March was 8.6°F above average. July had an average temperature of 76.9°F, 3.6°F above average, making it the hottest month ever observed for the contiguous United States.
It’s too bad these fantasy-like numbers aren’t a fantasy. These numbers are indicative of a rapidly changing climate.
Much like bitter Notre Dame fans hoping that ‘Bama’s streak won’t last – despite all evidence to the contrary, we’re hoping that 2013 doesn’t beat 2012’s record.
But with CO2 emissions on the rise and little serious action being taken on climate change, heat records are going to become common.
It’s time to rally fans of livable temperatures, stable food prices and the human race to do something, cheer on serious solutions and score a touchdown for the climate. Are you in?