Tuesday, January 22, 2013

US: Warmest Year On Record

As many probably know by now, 2012 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States.  In fact last year obliterated to previous record.  The record was eclipsed by a full one degree Fahrenheit.  This was an astounding result and is outside any normal experience.  The graphic below illustrates the comparison with the five warmest years on record.

A comparison of the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. with the warmest years on record.  Image Credit: Climate Central.

Every state saw warmer than normal temperatures for the year, however the amount of heat was not uniform.  Record heat was reported in the Southwest, Central U.S., and the Northeast.  It was quite hot in the Southeast, but much of the area escaped the hottest temperatures.  Many of the all-time record high temperatures set during the Dust Bowl era fell in the central U.S. this past summer.

A look at the distribution of heat across the U.S. for 2012.  Image Credit: Climate Central.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Climate Matters Wins

The 93rd annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) has been going on this week in Austin, Texas.  An awards banquet was held Wednesday evening where I received the Award for Excellence in Science Reporting by a Broadcast Meteorologist.  The award was for the pioneering program Climate Matters which began in July, 2010.  I am the seventh recipient of the award.

Climate Matters Page on the WLTX website.  Image Credit: WLTX.

Climate Matters is a program that attempts to educate viewers about climate change and how it is already affecting their lives.  Many of the segments are localized to the effects on South Carolina, but may also apply to other regions.  The reports use only peer-reviewed published work of scientists involved in climate change research.

However, let me tell you how this came about.  It started with my own interest in climate change.  I was at a retirement party for Dr. John Carpenter who was in the Geology Department and longtime director of the Center for Science Education at the University of South Carolina.  During that party a couple of professors came up to me and ask if I thought climate change was real.  I told them that I thought it was, but had not really given it much thought.