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Sierra Daily

Oct 12, 2012

More Important Than Big Bird

UntitledMore important than the San Francisco Giants. More important than Gangnam Style. More important than the new iPhone. More important than Joe Biden's teeth. You get the idea. What is it? It's the list of "year-to-date temperature anomalies" just released by the National Climatic Data Center, for the period January through September 2012. The interactive listing is far too lengthy to post here; to get the full effect you need to visit the NCDC site. A terrifying added feature is added when you click through on a particular locale's ranking and get a new chart showing its 2012 temperatures in relation to its previous records, including the 5 previous coldest (blue lines) and 5 previous warmest (red lines). To pick a city at random, Buffalo, New York's records go back to 1939, so its "Haywood plot" looks like this:

Buffalo
The heavy line is 2012. Buffalo was 4.4 degrees warmer from January to September than the 1981 to 2010 average. It's not just Buffalo, though. Just scroll through the list.

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PAUL RAUBER is a senior editor at Sierra. He is the author, with Carl Pope, of the happily outdated Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress. Otherwise he is a cyclist, cook, and father of two. Follow him on Twitter @paulrauber. 

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