Unless the United States suddenly goes into a massive deep freeze for the next two weeks, this year is going to come out as the hottest year on record.
This will push 1998 into second place. Seven of the top 10 warmest years in the 48 states have occurred in the past 15 years.
Average annual temperature in contiguous United States. Chart by Climate Central
According to Climate Central:
Like so much recent record-breaking weather, 2012 isn’t just going to break the previous record, 2012 is looking to smash it, by more than 1°F. Climate Central projects the 2012 average temperature for the continental U.S. at 55.34°F compared to the previous record set in 1998 of 54.32°F. For perspective, 1°F is one quarter of the difference between the coldest and warmest years ever recorded in the continental U.S.
… Record-shattering heat has been the norm all year. June-through-August 2012 was just two-tenths of a degree cooler than the Dust Bowl summer of 1936, and July of this year was the hottest month ever recorded in U.S. history.
This scorching summer followed on the heels of a remarkably warm spring in most of the country. March 2012 was the warmest March in U.S. history by a wide margin. In communities across the upper Midwest, daily low temperatures routinely broke previous high temperature records, and daily high records were repeatedly smashed by 20 degrees or more.
The full report is here.