According to the numbers, 2015 ranked as the second hottest year on record.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) said that the average temperature in the United States for 2015 was 54.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only 1.1 degrees lower than the highest average temperatures on record for the year 2012.
2015 marked the 19th straight year that average temperatures in the United States surpassed the average temperatures for the 20th century.
The temperature spikes were felt all over the United States, from Washington and Oregon all the way down to Florida and up to Maine, signaling that the climate shifts were not the result of localized weather patterns, but instead were the result of a changing atmosphere.
The rising temperatures also brought with them a slew of costly adverse weather events, as Reuters points out that there were at least 10 extreme weather events in 2015 – including floods, storms, and wildfires – that each carried a price tag of over $1 billion.
These events do not include the massive droughts that plagued areas of the Southwest and California, and the price tags of those events has yet to be fully calculated.
Here’s the problem: These temperature increases and extreme weather events are no longer considered “out of the ordinary.” They have become the new normal.
And as long as the United States, and the rest of the world, continues to rely primarily on fossil fuels, these extreme conditions are only going to grow more and more intense.
Image credit: watchara via Shutterstock.