If you found yourself bundling up in scarves, hats, and long underwear less than usual last year, you weren't alone: 2012 was the warmest year on record in the contiguous United States, according to scientists with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.2 degrees above normal and a full degree higher than the previous warmest year recorded -- 1998 -- NOAA said in its report Tuesday. All 48 states in the contiguous U.S. had above-average annual temperatures last year, including 19 that broke annual records, from Connecticut through Utah.
It was also a historic year for "extreme" weather, scientists with the federal agency said. With 11 disasters that surpassed $1 billion in losses, including Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Isaac, and tornadoes across the Great Plains, Texas, and the Southeast and Ohio Valley, NOAA said 2012 was second only to 1998 in the agency's "extreme" weather index.
The temperatures were unprecedented here, but as you'd expect, the trend wasn't limited to the United States: "A corresponding rise in global temperatures prompted the World Meteorological Organization to call the rate at which the Arctic sea ice was melting 'alarming' in its Nov. 28, 2012, report."
The New York Times added that the NOAA's projections suggest 10 warmest years on record all fell within the past 15 years.
Last week, President Obama released a video outlining many of his principal second-term priorities. Among them: "freeing ourselves from foreign oil and the harmful effects of climate change."
The sooner, the better.