With the warmest March, third warmest April and second warmest May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed on Thursday that the 2012 Spring in the contiguous United States since has been the hottest ever on record.
The spring season's (March-May) nationally-averaged temperature was 57.1°F, 5.2°F above the 1901-2000 long-term average, surpassing the previous warmest spring (1910) by 2.0°F. The nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895, NOAA reported.
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Record warmth and near-record warmth blanketed the eastern two-thirds of the country from this spring, with 31 states reporting record warmth for the season and 11 more with spring temperatures among their 10 warmest.
"The Midwest and the upper Midwest were the epicenters for this vast warmth," Deke Arndt of NOAA's Climatic Data Center said in an online video. That meant farming started earlier in the year, and so did pests and weeds, bringing higher costs earlier in the growing season, Arndt said.
"This warmth is an example of what we would expect to see more often in a warming world," Arndt said.
More long-lasting heat waves, record-high daytime temperatures and record-high overnight low temperatures are to be expected in a warming world, said Jake Crouch of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
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Agence France-Presse adds:
Scientists have repeatedly warned that emissions of greenhouse gases, largely through industrial activity, are heating up the planet and could spell serious long-term problems, including the extinction of plant and animal species and the flooding of low-lying islands.
UN-led efforts for a new global climate agreement have moved slowly. Climate change remains a controversial topic in the United States, with many prominent members of the Republican Party casting doubt on the science.
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