2012 hottest year on record in Wyoming

By Jim Stanford on December 20, 2012

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View of town and the Tetons on Sept. 21, at the height of smoke from Idaho fires.

The mercury may have been hovering around -10 the last few mornings, but this year is likely to be the warmest ever recorded in Wyoming, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Temperatures for January through November were 4.3 degrees above normal. Given the mild start to December, 2012 is projected to surpass 1934 as the warmest year since record keeping began in 1895.

Three of the warmest years in the state’s history have occurred since 2006, according to NOAA data. 2007 was the fourth-warmest, and 2006 ranks sixth.

The trend is in keeping with the rest of the nation, as 2012 likely will be the hottest on record in the lower 48. Northern and Western states showed the greatest increases in temperatures, with only Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada and North Dakota exceeding Wyoming’s deviation from the norm.

In Jackson, the change cannot be measured accurately because the U.S. Forest Service quit taking readings at the historic site in January 2011. Those measurements resumed this fall. But the statewide warming matches what was observed locally in 2012, with an early spring and mild autumn.

In addition, says meteorologist Jim Woodmencey, during the summer, “We didn’t cool down at night as much as you would expect.”

According to Adventure Journal, seven of the top 10 warmest years in America have occurred since 1997. This year’s warm-up is significantly higher than previous records.

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Posted under Environment, Weather, Wyoming

5 Comments so far

  1. JFish December 20, 2012 9:03 pm

    I feel that if Jim Woodmenceny says that we didn’t cool down at night as much as you would expect then it is time to panic. That is pretty scientific stuff Jack!

  2. js December 20, 2012 10:01 pm

    He has the numbers to back that up. We talked about how this summer wasn’t one of the hottest ever, in terms of record high temperatures or number of days above 90 (although it was above average in the latter), but nighttime lows were warmer. I didn’t feel the need to go into minute detail.
    Woody has been careful in examining climate data and is not quick to cry global warming. But a study he did for the town several years ago found that average temperature has been rising in Jackson since 1950 and, likely as a result, snowfall has decreased 7 percent: http://www.jhunderground.com/2010/02/03/the-warming-of-wyoming/
    The NOAA data confirms what most of us have felt intuitively about this year: longest “warm season” anyone can remember. A good gauge for me is the fact that I rode my bike from March into December.

  3. NO GLOBAL THREAT December 21, 2012 7:17 am

    No need to worry.

  4. joe December 23, 2012 11:37 am

    its also well known that urbanization, more and bigger asphalt roads, parking lots, and even bike paths, stone and concrete buildings and parking garages, longer and wider airport runways all affect the reliability of nearby weather stations. Heat absorbed during the day is released at night.
    the lower 48 only constitutes 2% of global anything, and the mean global temperature has remained neutral for the last 16 years. don’t panic Jack, the bar for good science is much higher than the bar for social journalism or evirongelic politics.

  5. js January 8, 2013 6:15 pm

    It’s official: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/science/earth/2012-was-hottest-year-ever-in-us.html

    “… it will mean that the 10 warmest years on record all fell within the past 15 years, a measure of how much the planet has warmed. Nobody who is under 28 has lived through a month of global temperatures that fell below the 20th-century average, because the last such month was February 1985.”

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