2012: Tenth Hottest Year So Far

Randall Hoven
Despite recent headlines claiming "Hottest year on record" and "Feeling the heat: First half of 2012 is the warmest on record," this year is only the 10th hottest on record.

As I noted a few days ago, those headlines referred only to the contiguous US, which is about 1.5% of our planet's surface. Brazil is bigger. When I wrote, June's global temperature was not yet available. But for the first five months, Jan-May, 2012 was the 10th hottest so far.

Since I wrote that, NASA/GISS has updated its global temperature record through June, so we now have global temperatures for the first six months of 2012. It is not the hottest on record; it is the 10th hottest on record.

In fact, every single month of 1998 was warmer than that same month in 2012 so far. Years warmer than 2012, January through June average, were 1998, 2002-2007, and 2009-2010.

Statistically, the trend since 2001 has been cooling. There has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. (Based on linear regression tests using the first 6-month average of each year, 95% confidence level.)

In short, the data we have so far for 2012 is consistent with what I wrote this May.

"The trend over the last nine years (since 2002) is one of cooling. There has been no statistically significant (at 95% confidence level) warming in 14 years (since 1997)."

In fact, based on first-halves of years instead of whole years, we've been cooling for the last 11 years and not warming for the last 17. That is, the latest data from 2012 strengthen the suggestion that global warming has stopped, or is at least on hiatus. For all we know, we're in for global cooling.

(Reminder: this data is available to you here. This is NASA's data. NASA is where James Hansen works. Feel free to check it yourself; don't just take my word for it.)

Randall Hoven can be followed on Twitter.


Despite recent headlines claiming "Hottest year on record" and "Feeling the heat: First half of 2012 is the warmest on record," this year is only the 10th hottest on record.

As I noted a few days ago, those headlines referred only to the contiguous US, which is about 1.5% of our planet's surface. Brazil is bigger. When I wrote, June's global temperature was not yet available. But for the first five months, Jan-May, 2012 was the 10th hottest so far.

Since I wrote that, NASA/GISS has updated its global temperature record through June, so we now have global temperatures for the first six months of 2012. It is not the hottest on record; it is the 10th hottest on record.

In fact, every single month of 1998 was warmer than that same month in 2012 so far. Years warmer than 2012, January through June average, were 1998, 2002-2007, and 2009-2010.

Statistically, the trend since 2001 has been cooling. There has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. (Based on linear regression tests using the first 6-month average of each year, 95% confidence level.)

In short, the data we have so far for 2012 is consistent with what I wrote this May.

"The trend over the last nine years (since 2002) is one of cooling. There has been no statistically significant (at 95% confidence level) warming in 14 years (since 1997)."

In fact, based on first-halves of years instead of whole years, we've been cooling for the last 11 years and not warming for the last 17. That is, the latest data from 2012 strengthen the suggestion that global warming has stopped, or is at least on hiatus. For all we know, we're in for global cooling.

(Reminder: this data is available to you here. This is NASA's data. NASA is where James Hansen works. Feel free to check it yourself; don't just take my word for it.)

Randall Hoven can be followed on Twitter.