by Dan Telvock - Investigative Post
Some weather experts believe the record-breaking heat in 2012 is a warning that the frequency of extreme weather will increase in Western New York and the nation.
The average temperature in the United States for 2012 was 55.3 degrees, which is 3.2 degrees above the 20th Century averagem, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's State of the Climate report. The new record national average temperature is 1 degree hotter than the previous one, set in 1998.
The temperature climbed even more in Buffalo.
In 1998, Buffalo recorded its highest average temperature at 50.9 degrees. This record was shattered in 2012 by 1.2 degrees to 52.1 degrees, according to Chris Fenimore, a climate scientist for NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
"That is amazing because things don't jump like that normally in a year," said Stephen Vermette, a climatologist and professor of geography at Buffalo State.
March was 13.4 degrees above normal, said Dave Thomas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Remove that month from the temperature equation and Buffalo would have had only a 0.1-percent increase in average temperature for 2012.