Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2016

Map of January 2016 to December 2016 U.S. Average Temperature Departures from Average

The average annual temperature for the contiguous United States was 54.9°F, which was 2.9°F above the 20th century average. This was the second warmest year of the 122 years on record, behind 2012 (55.3°F), and the 20th consecutive warmer-than-normal year for the United States (1997–2016).

The contiguous U.S. average annual precipitation was 31.70 inches, which is 1.76 inches above the long-term average. This made 2016 the 24th wettest year on record for the nation, and the fourth consecutive year with above-average precipitation.

During the year, the United States experienced 15 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, causing a total of $46 billion in damages. This was the second highest number of billion-dollar events in the 37-year record (1980–2016), one less than the 16 that occurred in 2011. Four of these were inland flooding events not associated with named tropical storms, doubling the previous record for number of billion-dollar inland flood events in one year, which occurred several years, most recently in 2015.

Map of 2016 U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Events

This annual summary from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia, and the public to support informed decision making.

For more information, see: