The Washington Post

Chart busting 2012 temperatures in Lower 48 and Washington, D.C.

Temperatures so far this year are warmest on record locally and nationally, and it’s not even close. Year-to-date temperatures are on an entirely different level from past record-setting years.

Charts tell the story.

Chart shows year-to-date departures from normal for average temperatures from 1895 to present. The temperature departure in 2012 is more than a degree warmer than the next warmest year. View big. (NOAA)

In Washington, D.C., it’s a similar situation. The year-to-date average temperature is 4.6 degrees above average, which for statistics junkies is 3.2 standard deviations from the norm. The current year-to-date temperature is running almost 2 degrees above the next warmest year (since 1946): 1991

The year-to-date average temperature in Washington, D.C. from 1946-2012. The 2012 temperature is the top line in dark red, almost 2 degrees higher than the other top 5 warm years in a lighter red shade. View big. (NOAA)

34 out of 48 states and scores of cities are having their warmest years on record to date. These cities include (but are not even close to being limited to): Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinatti, Des Moines, Detroit, Indianapolis, Little Rock, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, New York City, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, and Tampa.

Related: U.S. has hottest month on record in July 2012 NOAA says

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.

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