WASHINGTON — The United States is warming fastest at two of its corners, in the Northeast and the Southwest, an analysis of federal temperature records shows.

Northeastern states — led by Maine and Vermont — have gotten the hottest in the last 30 years in annual temperature, gaining 2.5 degrees on average. But Southwestern states have heated up the most in the hottest months: The average New Mexico summer is 3.4 degrees warmer now than in 1984; in Texas, the dog days are 2.8 degrees hotter.

The contiguous United States’ annual average temperature has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, with summers getting 1.6 degrees hotter. But that doesn’t really tell you how hot it’s gotten for most Americans. While man-made greenhouse gases warm the world as a whole, weather is supremely local. Some areas have gotten hotter than others because of atmospheric factors and randomness, climate scientists say.

“In the United States, it isn’t warming equally,” said Kelly Redmond, climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nev. “Be careful about extrapolating from your own backyard to the globe.”

For example, while people in the East and Midwest were complaining about a cold winter this year, Redmond’s Nevada and neighboring California were having some of their warmest winter months ever.

To determine what parts of the country have warmed the most, The Associated Press analyzed National Climatic Data Center temperature trends in the lower 48 states, 192 cities and 344 smaller regions within the states. Climate scientists suggested 1984 as a starting date because 30 years is a commonly used time period and 1984, which had an average temperature, is not a cherry-picked year to skew a trend either way. The trend was calculated by the NCDC using the least squares regression method, which is a standard statistical tool.

All but one of the lower 48 states have warmed since 1984. North Dakota is the lone outlier, and cooled slightly. Ten states — Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Mexico, Connecticut and New York — have gotten at least 2 degrees warmer in the past 30 years.

Since 1984, 92 percent of the more than 500 cities and smaller regions within states have warmed, and nearly two-thirds of them have warmed by at least a degree. The regions that have warmed the most have been New York’s St. Lawrence Valley, northeastern Vermont, northern Maine, the northeastern plains of New Mexico and western Vermont, all of which have warmed by more than 2.5 degrees.

Cities — where data is a tad more suspect because they are based on a single weather station and readings can be affected by urban heating and development — see the greatest variation. Carson City, Nevada, and Boise, Idaho, are the cities that have seen the most warming — both year-round and in summer — since 1984. Both cities’ average annual temperatures have jumped more than 4 degrees in just 30 years, while Dickinson, North Dakota, has dropped the most, a bit more than 2 degrees.

The Southwest warming, especially in the summer, seems to be driven by dryness, because when there is little water the air and ground warm up faster, said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

“Heat and drought are a vicious cycle that has been hitting the Southwest hard in recent years,” Hayhoe said.

And in the Northeast, the temperatures are pushed up by milder winters and warm water in the North Atlantic, said Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. And less snow on the ground over the winter often means warmer temperatures, said Alan Betts, a climate scientist at Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, Vt.

The Southeast and Northwest were among the places that warmed the least. In the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, industrial sulfur particle pollutants from coal burning may be reflecting sunlight, thus countering heating caused by coal’s carbon dioxide emissions, said Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann.

(8) comments

Karl Anderson

David Mulberry is so unwilling to accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change that he rejects the clear explanations of the scientific consensus offered by two of the world's most respected scientific associations, in favor of a privately-funded report by a small group of pseudo-skeptics calling itself the "Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change".

The NIPCC is a project of the Heartland Institute, a libertarian-leaning "think tank" primarily funded by the likes of the Koch brothers and others who stand to lose the most if CO2 emissions are curtailed. HI is best known for its 2012 billboard campaign featuring scary characters like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski proclaiming their belief in ACC (the campaign backfired when many of HI's corporate clients withdrew their support). Although HI stopped revealing its funding sources in 2010, by that time it received $16.7 million from right-wing "dark money" foundations like Donor's Trust. Donor's Trust, "dedicated to the ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise" according to its website, contributed 25% of all funding for 91 organizations in the business of spreading disinformation about climate change, as revealed in a peer-reviewed analysis published last year:


Evidently "personal responsibility" doesn't extend to fortunes made by socializing the external costs of fossil-fuel production, of which the largest is climate change.

David Mulberry

you still have not and can not answer my questions...

David Mulberry


all you have to do is click on the NIPCC and you will get in

Karl Anderson

For some reason, David Mulberry really wants us to think there's no anthropogenic global warming. I don't know where he gets his scientific information, but the U.S. National Academy of Sciences is America's most respected scientific society, and it says the Earth's climate is warming, humans are responsible, and there are likely to be serious impacts for pretty much everyone. The NAS and the Royal Society of the U.K. have jointly published a 36-page booklets, "Climate Change: Evidence and Causes", which is freely downloadable at this link:


The booklet is mostly in the form of 20 common questions about AGW, with answers representing the consensus of the vast majority of working climate scientists. If you don't trust the NAS and the RS for reliable scientific information, why would you trust anyone else?

David Mulberry

I just pointed out what the report said...northeast is getting warmer because of the mild winter in the northeast...mild? I suggest you do research about the weather...great lakes frozen..etc. The last paragraph points out that coal burning now cools because of the sulfur particles and heat because of the co2...I will look it up if you look up NIPCC report.

answer me this...
what is normal climate? the earth is 4.5 billion yrs of age..within that time the earth was known as the snowglobe..then came the medevil warming peroid..then came the little iceage..then again warming peroids from 1910-1940..cooling again.in the 1970's.Time Mag. reported we are going to die because of an iceage is coming?. Why all of a sudden it is manmade staring in the 1980's?
co2 is a pollutant? The human body is 5 percent co2 ....130 time more then in the atmosphere....greenhouses use it to help the plants grow.
What about the volcanoes...at least 5 are spewing co2 now. 3 in Russia..one in Peru...one in Indonesia,,not to mention the underwater ones in the Antartic which is the cause of the small portion of it melting.
Why no longer Global Warm but climate change? Could be it is getting more difficult to prove warming..we have not been for the last 18 yrs...
The biggest question...if science is settled why won't Gore, Kerry, or Obama debate one of the shoddy cherry picking scientist?.I don't think they believe it or they would.
I will read that link if you have the conejos to read the NICPP

David Mulberry

By the way...can you name five scientist from that report?

David Mulberry

The northeast temps. was pushed up by milder winters?? The northeast had the coldest temps since 1902 this year. Niagra Falls was frozen over...minus 40 below in many places...what kind of reporting is this??

David Mulberry

Last paragraph...sulfur particle pollution from coal burning may reflect sunlight thus countering the co2 warming??? So if I read this right coal burning both has a cooling and a warming effect. ummm

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