Where will 2012 end up in the annals of global warming?

UK temps a hair below average, Australia warmer than normal

For 2012 to-date, nearly the entire planet saw above average temperatures.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — While the U.S. is likely be report one of the warmest years ever recorded in 2012, not every country saw record-warmth this year.

The National Climatic Data Center will release the December 2012 and year-end temperature data this week, but several other countries have already released readings, including the UK, which saw a mean annual temperature 0.1 degrees Celsius below the 1981 to 2010 average.

Only 2 years (2010 and 2012) of the last 16 have had annual temperatures below the average. March was the 3rd warmest on record for the UK. The summer was a little warmer than 2011, but otherwise the coolest  since 1998, and it was the coolest autumn since 1993.

The UK Met Office described 2012 as a year of dramatic contrasts, warm and mild the first three months, followed by a shift to exceptionally wet weather from late spring through the summer.

It was also the second-wettest year in the 30-year span for the UK, just barely behind 2000, with England reporting its wettest year in the period, at 35 percent above average.

The year started with long-term drought concerns, but the situation was then transformed by the wettest April and June in the England and Wales series from 1766, while summer (June, July, August) was the wettest since 1912. Rainfall totals for autumn and December remained well above average, and a succession of rain events in late November and late December contributed to extensive disruption from flooding.

On the other side of the globe, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported an annual mean temperature that was 0.11 degrees Celsius above the 1961 to 1990 average. The country has only reported one year (2011) with temperatures below that average.

Cooler-than-average conditions were recorded in northern Australia and parts of the east while Tasmania, the mainland’s southern coast, and the southwestern half of Western Australia experienced above-average temperatures.

Australia’s maximum average temperatures were 0.51 degrees Celsius above average, while minimum temperatures were 0.28 below average. Both 2011 and 2012 were cooler than recent years, the last decade (2003–2012) has been one of Australia’s warmest on record; at 0.44 degrees Celsius above average, it was the fifth-warmest 10 year period on record.

The first half of 2012 was cooler and wetter than average in Australia, and the second half was warmer and drier than average. The change from wet to dry conditions was consistent with changing sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, which are a primary driver of rainfall variability across much of Australia.

The annual climate statement from the Bureau of Meteorology is online here.



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