The Hottest Year on Record, by the Numbers

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January through December 2012. Photo: NOAA

Last year was the hottest year on record for the contiguous United States since record-keeping began in 1895, according to a Tuesday announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Here's a breakdown of the 2012 measurements, by the numbers.

55.3: Average temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for 2012. The record is 3.2 degrees higher than the 20th-century average and a full degree higher than the previous record, which was set in 1998. NOAA

26.57: Annual precipitation, in inches, for 2012. The number is 2.57 below the average, making 2012 the 15th driest year on record. NOAA

11: Number of disasters that reached the $1 billion threshold in losses. The events are believed to have caused 349 deaths. The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. NOAA

48: Number of states in the contiguous U.S. that had a higher than average temperature. NOAA

76.9: Average temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for the month of July, the hottest month ever recorded in the contiguous United States. NOAA

61: Percentage of the country that experienced drought during the month of July. NOAA

28: Age under which people have not lived through a month of global temperatures that fell below the 20th-century average. The New York Times

—Joe Spring

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