The latest State Of The Climate report from NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) has just been released. It’s a compendium of information on the climate of December, 2014 and a review of last year as a whole. There are several interesting features that stand out for the year as a whole.
- For the 18th year in a row, temperature readings exceeded the USA 20th century average.
- In 2014, there were eight weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion dollars each across the USA.
- Alaska, Arizona, California, and Nevada had their warmest year on record while most areas east of the Rockies (save for New England and Florida) were cooler than average. No state had a record cold year.
For the month of December, 2014, temperature and drought were the main features.
- December was indeed warm for the USA. In fact, the second warmest December on record, and the warmest since 1939. In spite of that, no state had a record warm month.
- Beneficial precipitation did ease ongoing drought conditions across many areas, but the hardest hit states of California and Nevada are still dealing with Exceptional to Extreme drought.
- As of December 30th, 28.7 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought which is a very slight improvement over November.
The full detailed report from NCDC will be released on 12 January, 2015. In summary, several facts do stand out. Overall, 2014 was a very warm year for the USA, billion dollar disasters are becoming more commonplace, and just under one third of the USA is experiencing relentless drought conditions that are becoming a way of life. It’s important to keep in mind that this is only an overview for a part of North American and the overall global climactic trends are not taken into account…but eerily mirror what is happening within the USA. Finally, we would be remiss to not take into account the effect on our economy, infrastructure, public health, and overall standard of living these climate trends are having on our way of life.