The Heat is On: U.S. Temperature Trends

This report from Climate Central presents a state-by-state analysis of warming over the past 100 years and shows where it warmed the most and where it warmed the least. The report is timely, as the first five months of 2012 were the warmest on record in the U.S, and the 12 month period ending May 2012 was the warmest 12 month period on record in the country. 

This analysis finds that over the past 100 years, the continental U.S. has warmed about 1.3 degrees F, but between 1912 and 2011 the top ten fastest-warming states warmed 60 times faster than the 10 slowest-warming states, with much of that warming concentrated in the Southwest and upper Midwest. Since 1970, warming accelerated dramatically and there were rapid trends in warming for every state - the speed of warming across the lower 48 more than tripled. 

Arizona was found to be the fastest-warming state in the nation, followed in the top ten by Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, New Mexico, Utah, Maine, Texas and Massachusetts. In addition to U.S. maps demonstrating temperature trends, the report includes tables which list the temperature changes for each state, since 1912, and another since 1970. 

This analysis is based on recorded daily high and low temperatures from the National Climatic Data Center's U.S. Historical Climatology Network of weather stations. 


Publication Date: June 2012

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Claudia Tebaldi
  • Dennis Adams-Smith
  • Nicole Heller

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Resource Types:

  • Climate science


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