Friday, May 13, 2016

Second Warmest Start to the Year on Record for U.S.

By Andrea Thompson
May 6, 2016

While the weather is chilly and rainy along much of the East Coast, the Lower 48 as a whole is having its second hottest year to date, thanks in large part to major western warmth, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday.

That warmth extended all the way up to Alaska, which is seeing its warmest year on record and temperatures far above normal.

These record- and near record-setting conditions are part of the larger pattern across the globe, with Earth on pace to set yet another record for warmest year. The year is well ahead of 2015 so far, which only just took the record for hottest year from 2014. While a major El NiƱo has provided a small boost to global temperatures, the main contributor is human-caused global warming, scientists have said.

The overall mild conditions for the U.S. this spring follow a record warm winter and autumn, with much of that warmth centered out West.

For January through April, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 4°F (2.2°C) above the 20th century average, the second highest departure in records going back 135 years.

Every state was warmer than average over that period, though none of the Lower 48 states individually set a record. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho each recorded their second warmest April in the books, which led to early snowmelt across the region.


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