HOUSTON (AP)- Government meteorologists say 2012 was by far the hottest year ever recorded by meterorologists across the world and the United States.
The average temperature in the U.S. was off the charts at over 55 degrees. That's a full degree warmer than the previous high record of 1998. Normally, temperature records are broken by about a tenth of a degree.
Scientist around the world blame the heat on global warming and some weather variatons. But never have the scientist observed such record droughts worldwide like those that were observed that have gripped almost two-thirds of the United States.
Last July was was also the hottest month ever recorded. The entire year was 3.2 degrees warmer than the average for the 20th century.
U.S. temperatures records go back to the 1800's. They are based on reports from more than 1,200 stations across the lower 48 states.
Right now it's so hot in the country of Australia that they added new colors to their weather maps.
They have added the color of deep purple to represent the 100 plus degree temperatures.
To give you an idea just how bad the Australian heatwave temperatures really are, consider that at just past midnight, it was 95 degrees F in Sydney. Double scary are the giant fire risks that come with the heat--risks so severe Australian officials are taking no chances and labeling the warning "catastrophic." A 'catastropic' warning carries the risk of significant loss of life and the destruction of many residential and commercial properties, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Scientists have been very careful to ensure that UHI is not influencing the temperature trends. To address this concern, they have compared the data from remote stations (sites that are nowhere near human activity) to more urban sites. Likewise, investigators have also looked at sites across rural and urban China, which has experienced rapid growth in urbanisation over the past 30 years and is therefore very likely to show UHI. The difference between ideal rural sites compared to urban sites in temperature trends has been very small...
But a recent paper by the climate-skeptic Anthony Watts and others (press release here, full draft paper pdf here) argues that, when properly classified by site-quality, there is a significant difference in the degree of warming reported between good and bad sites which leads to a significant exaggeration of the reported US temperature trend.