Temperatures continue to soar

2021 was the 4th hottest year for the US

Let’s face it: talking about an ever-warmer world is not very sexy and we hear it so much that we’re getting used to it.

That, of course, is the wrong road to take as we’re better off accepting the facts and moving forward toward solutions. Last year soared to #4 in the record books for hottest on record in the United States, but consider this: December was THE hottest December on record and summer was THE hottest on record (Houston barely reached 100° but you’ll recall all those searing days in the Northwest).

2021 ranked 4th in the record books

What’s interesting about the above graphic is that 6 of the past 10 hottest years all occurred since 2012. This is not random acts of warmness. This is a trend. And an expensive one:

A warmer world leads to bigger weather events and disasters

You can’t hook every weather event to a warming world, but last year started with the February Freeze across the country, went to deadly wildfires in the West, a summer heat wave in the Northwest and Rockies, Hurricanes Elsa, Fred, Ida and Nicholas, a Midwest Derecho and December’s horrific tornado outbreaks across Kentucky. Just to name a few. Across the country, 20 climate disasters ran a tab of $145 billion (in 2021, there were 22 such disasters costing $102 billion). Here’s a graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Across the country, 20 events cost $145 Billion

Houston is warming, too

The concern is that while there may be a scattering of cooling years, by and large the warmer line keeps moving north. Here in Houston we are seeing the same thing:

The past 50 years = warmer

If you’d like further information on all of this, NOAA just released their 2021 report on last year’s warming and disasters while Climate Central does a nice job of summing it up right here.

It’s Hump Day. Enjoy!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.