Accessibility links


2015 Was Second Hottest Ever in US

  • VOA News

Two men watch as the sun sets over San Francisco from Yerba Buena Island, Jan. 5, 2016.

Two men watch as the sun sets over San Francisco from Yerba Buena Island, Jan. 5, 2016.

A hot December made 2015 the second hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"It was quite an exceptional month," said Jake Crouch, climate scientist at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Temperatures for the year averaged 12.4 degrees Celsius, just off 2012’s 12.9, the hottest year since records started in 1895.

NOAA also said there were 10 major weather and climate events in 2015, resulting in the deaths of 155 and causing more than $1 billion in damage.They included a drought, two floods, five severe storms, a wildfire event and a winter storm.

The Western U.S. was particularly warm, as was the Southeast. Texas and Oklahoma set records for precipitation.

"Every state had an above average temperature for the year," said Crouch.

The World Meteorological Organization said 2015 would be the hottest year ever globally and that 2016 could be hotter because of El Niño.

NOAA said 2015 was the 19th straight year that the average temperatures topped the average for the 20th century.

Nearly 200 countries that met at the United Nations’ climate summit in Paris in December agreed to try to stem climate change by restraining the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius.

Climate change is a highly charged political issue in the U.S. with Republican presidential candidates critical of President Barack Obama’s statement that it was the biggest threat to national security.