The hottest places on Earth
THE world is getting warmer. Globally, the ten hottest years on record have all been in the past 15 years. And national records are being broken too as climatic extremes are becoming more common. On January 8th, America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 2012 was the country’s hottest year yet. The average national temperature of 55.3°F (12.9°C) was 1.0°F (0.6°C) above that of the previous warmest year in 1998. Last year was also the second most extreme, as measured by an NOAA index of weather extremes that includes temperature, precipitation, hurricanes and the like. Only 1998 was more variable.
Australia is also experiencing some unwanted extremes. The country is currently caught in the grip of extreme heat. Raging bush fires have pushed thousands from their homes as summer temperatures have hit new highs. Records have been set for the national average maximum (40.3°C) and the highest national average (32.2°C). And things may get hotter still.
This week the Australian Bureau of Meteorology added new colors to its map to denote a range up to 54°C, as it forecast that the mercury would rise to over 52°C next week, surpassing the previous high of 50.7°C set in 1960.