Last year was the third hottest on record in the United States, with an average temperature of 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit—2.6 F above average.
Only 2012 and 2016 were warmer than 2017, according a new report from NOAA. The five hottest years on record in the country have been in the last decade, based on 123 years of record-keeping.
The record heat means that every year since 1997 has been warmer than average in the United States. And in 2017, every state had a warmer-than-average year, and 32 recorded one of their 10 hottest years on record, according to NOAA.
"In 2017, every state in the Lower 48 had an average temperature that was above average, and this is the third consecutive year that has been the case," said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. "It's a continuation of what we saw in 2016, what we saw in 2015, and we also saw a continuation in 2012, so the warmth in 2017 really was observed coast to coast."
Five states—Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Carolina—had their warmest years on record, according to NOAA. Alaska had its warmest December ever, 15.7 F above the average, for a statewide average of 19.4 F.
After two-thirds of the contiguous United States experienced a blast of Arctic air and low temperatures in the single digits in December, President Trump tweeted that more global warming might help make the weather less cold.
"Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against," he wrote, in reference to the Paris climate agreement.
Scientists have long explained that winter and record cold snaps will not disappear as a result of climate change, and that cold spikes may get worse as a result of shifting weather patterns under global warming.
"We do live in a warming world, but we do have very cold poles, and we still have the weather systems that pull cold air away from those poles into areas where we live," said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.
NOAA and NASA will release their global temperature report next week. Based on data recorded this year, they will likely announce that 2017 is the second- or third-warmest year on record.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.