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Spring in U.S. was warmest ever recorded

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If you slipped into short-sleeved shirts and left your sweaters hanging in the hall the past couple of months, it wasn't just you - this past spring was the warmest yet recorded in the United States. Scientists say that spring was 5.2 degrees warmer than average, the largest temperature variance for any season on record.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Jake Crouch, who prepares the monthly climate reports for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told msnbc.com. "The fact that the U.S. has been in a warm pattern for several months is continuing to be the big story.

"Two things really jump out at me" he says. Temperatures through June 2011 through May 2012 "broke the record for warmest consecutive 12 months, which we just broke last month."

For the first time in the 117 years of record keeping, each of the last 12 months ranked in the top third of the historical distribution.

"If we assume that each month has an equal chance of having temperatures in the top third," Crouch said, "the odds of this happening are one in 531,441."

For the months of March, April, and May, "all ranked as top-ten warm" -- also the first time that's happened.

Overall, spring averaged 57.1 degrees -- 2 degrees above the previous record set in 1910 and 5.2 degrees above the 1901-2000 average for spring.

Summer, autumn and winter were all above average: 2.4 degrees last summer, 1.3 degrees in fall, and 3.9 degrees in winter.

"We don't have enough data yet to fully understand how the recent warm seasons will fit into the longer term trend," Crouch added, "but that is something we will continue to monitor as we move into the summer."

While alarmists may be quick to tie the warmer temperatures to manmade emissions and climate change, but NOAA emphasizes in its reports and statements that weather is influenced by other, natural factors as well. The agency notes that the warm pattern is indicative of what one would expect with climate change.

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