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2015 was the second warmest year on record in the US

The heat is on

Statewide average temperature ranks, Jan.-Dec. 2015
NOAA

2015 was hot as hell. In fact, US government scientists just announced it was the second warmest year on record, since record keeping began in 1895. The average temperature was 54.4℉, or 2.4℉ above the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today. Only 2012 was warmer for the US with an average temperature of 55.3°F.

This past year was the 19th consecutive year for above-average temperatures. It also rained... a lot: average precipitation was 34.47 inches, or 4.53 inches above the average, making it the third wettest year on record. The Central and Southeastern US got soaked more than normal in 2015, while parts of the West and Northeast were drier than average.

NOAA also noted that there were 10 weather-related disasters with damages and losses exceeding $1 billion each. These events included a drought, two floods, five severe storms, a wildfire event, and a winter storm. Overall, these resulted in the deaths of 155 people.

Globally, 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014, the previous record holder. The global rise in temperature is thanks to both El Niño, that band of warm ocean water that disrupts weather conditions across the Pacific Ocean and beyond, as well as the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, that are the result of human behavior. Prior to 2014, the Earth's warmest years were 2005 and 2010.

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