|By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer|
This past year's weather was deadly, costly and record-breaking everywhere _ but especially in
If that sounds familiar, it should. The previous year also was one for the record books.
"We've had two years now of some angry events," said
In 2012 many of the warnings scientists have made about global warming went from dry studies in scientific journals to real-life video played before our eyes: Record melting of the ice in the
All of that was predicted years ago by climate scientists and all of that happened in 2012.
"What was predicted was there would be more of these things," said Michel Jarraud, secretary general for the
Globally, five countries this year set heat records, but none set cold records. 2012 is on track to be the warmest year on record in
July was the hottest month in record-keeping U.S. history, averaging 77.6 degrees. Over the year, more than 69,000 local heat records were set _ including 356 locations in 34 states that hit their highest-ever temperature mark.
America's heartland lurched from one extreme to the other without stopping at "normal." Historic flooding in 2011 gave way to devastating drought in 2012.
"The normal has changed, I guess," said
While much of the U.S. struggled with drought that conjured memories of the Dust Bowl, parts of
But the most troubling climate development this year was the melting at the top of the world, Jarraud said. Summer sea ice in
There were other weather extremes no one predicted: A European winter cold snap that killed more than 800 people. A bizarre summer windstorm called a derecho in the U.S. mid-Atlantic that left millions without power. Antarctic sea ice that inched to a record high. More than a foot of post-