2017 Annual USA Climate Review - U.S. Summary
(Source: NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, formally the National Climate Data Center)

In 2016, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average temperature was 54.9F, 2.9F above the 20th century average. This was the second warmest year for the CONUS, behind 2012 when the annual average temperature was 55.3F. This marks the 20th consecutive year that the annual average temperature for the CONUS was above the 20th century average. The last year with a below-average temperature was 1996. Since 1895, the CONUS has observed an average temperature increase of 0.15F per decade. Nationally, the average minimum (low) temperature was 43.1F, the warmest on record, exceeding the previous value (42.9F in 2012) by about 0.2F. Six states were warmest on record for minimum temperature. Nationally, it was the third warmest average maximum (high) temperature for the annual period, a full degree cooler than the record set in 2012. Precipitation averaged across the CONUS in 2016 was 31.70 inches, 1.76 inches above the 20th century average. This was the 24th wettest year on record. Since 1895, precipitation across the CONUS has increased at an average rate of 0.16 inch per decade. Perspective: In 1934, All CONUS states had temperatures above average with 19 record highs that still hold. Source: NOAA National Overview - Annual. To gain the most perspective all available data should be used to ensure we don't lie with statistics. However, we must consider the context - for example - that our temperature data start at the end of the last "Little Ice Age" in the 1800s with the development of thermometers. Below we use one data set and its calculator (from NOAA NCDC) to present the full data and then variants as used by warming alarmists and by skeptics. We use USA data because it is more trustworthy than the global data set.

(Source: NOAA: C2017 Annual USA Climate Review - U.S. Summaryontiguous U.S. Temperature, January-December 2016

Analysis: The US temperature trend is 0.15 deg F per decade.After 2 years below the trendline, 2016 was the second highest in the record.

The projected temperature rise by IPCC is unrealistic, given that the USA and global temperatures have risen by only slightly more than 1 deg F (.5 C) in 100 years (revised, NOAA, 1 May 2007 ), (or 150 years using the full instrumented data set) during the height of industrial expansion. Even if all this rise is correct, and is attributable to human causes, it is a small amount in the natural variation of the Earth, and to suggest the rise would accelerate 5 fold (IPCC best estimate) in this century is hard to believe. Even after the release of the new data set and procedures by NOAA, which addressed some of the urban heat island issues and dropped the warming 44% (below IPCC 2007), significant other urban heat island issues still remain. There are also issues of calibration as measurement protocols have changed, issues about the design and placement of the temperature stations, and even the strongly held view by many skeptics that this is a natural rise as the Earth recovers from the Little Ice Age (circa 1500-1900). 

If the city where you live has a higher temperature than its suburbs, you can imagine the impact of growth around the world on land-based temperatures. The USA has fixed many of these problems. This is likely why the global temperatures rise while those of the USA are more "normal".

The Climate Skeptics who do not accept the whole argument that mankind is primarily responsible for warming are quick to point out the nearly flat temperture rise since 1998 is in the presence of continued CO2 growth. And before the 2 high years of 2013 and 2016, NOAA data show a rapidly declining temperature of -0.77 deg F per decade over the 11 years, from 1998 until 2008 - the coolest year in the series. Here is what those data show.

Trends of US Temperatures since 1998



Trends of US Temperatures since 1998 to now


This page updated or reviewed in February 2018