Barring an extreme change in temperatures in December, 2012 will surpass 1998 as the warmest on record across the country. But it will be virtually impossible to set a record in Baltimore.
December would have to be 1 degree colder than the coldest December on record for the nation to fall below 1998's average temperature of 54.3 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center's State of the Climate report for November.
For the year to date through November, it has been the warmest first 11 months of any year on record in the contiguous states. The average temperature of 57.1 degrees so far is 3.3 degrees above the average January-to-November temperature for the 20th century.
The center's record-keeping dates back 118 years. Read the full report here.
In Baltimore, however, it would take an average temperature 13 degrees above normal for December to surpass the record of 59.2 degrees, reached twice, in 1931 and 1949. A typical average of about 37 degrees for December would put 2012 in the top 10 warmest years on record in Baltimore.
Of course, an average December is looking unlikely, with an average temperature of 50 degrees, 10 degrees above normal, so far this month.
The gap to setting a record in Baltimore is in part because of a colder-than-normal November. The month was the 18th-coldest in 118 years for Maryland as a state, according to the report. The cold spread across the eastern half of the country, while the western half was warmer.
The U.S. has been a warm spot across the globe this year, but the planet is still warmer than usual overall. The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for the year through October was the eighth warmest such period on record,about 1 degree above the 20thcentury average, according to the center.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun