Did April seem feel unusually balmy to you this year? It probably had to do with the fact that it was the third warmest April ever recorded. Come to think of it, March was pretty warm, as well — the warmest ever documented, to be exact. In fact, NOAA is reporting that, as of April, Americans have officially lived through the hottest 12 month period on record:
Several warm periods across the contiguous U.S. during April brought the national average temperature to 55°F, 3.6°F above average, marking the third warmest April on record. These temperatures, when added with the first quarter and previous 11 months, calculate to the warmest year-to-date and 12-month periods since recordkeeping began in 1895.
The 12-month period of May 2011-April 2012 has a nationally-averaged temperature 2.8°F above the 1901-2000 long-term average, while the January-April 2012 months were 45.4°F, 5.4°F above the long-term average.
To quote James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institue for Space Studies, "Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening." What we do with this information, however, remains to be seen.
Read more about America's record-setting temperatures in NOAA's State of the Climate Report.