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March 12 News: NOAA Reports Warm Winter Saw Wet Areas Get Wetter, Dry Areas Drier

NOAA released data on Monday that the last winter was warmer and wetter than average. [USA Today]

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during the winter season was 34.3 degrees, which is 1.9 degrees above the 20th-century average, marking the 20th-warmest winter on record, NOAA reported.

As for precipitation, while the Southeast and upper Midwest were wetter than average, much of the West was quite dry, especially in January and February, contributing to below-average snowpack in the Sierra and Rockies.

“Drought conditions continued to plague much of the Great Plains and West,” according to the NOAA report.

Everything was warmer, dry areas got drier, wet areas got wetter. This helpful infographic helps demonstrate significant winter climate events. Silver lining? U.S. customers used less energy during the mild winter.

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Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget will say that building the Keystone XL pipeline will create thousands of jobs (which it won’t) and that “the administration is buying up land to prevent further development” (though it’s not). [Wall Street Journal]

President Obama heads to Capitol Hill this week, and is likely to talk about using royalty revenues from oil and gas production to set up an “Energy Security” trust fund. [The Hill]

Rep. Henry Waxman writes about how the House Energy and Commerce Committee has been MIA on climate change. [The Hill]

Global clean energy markets are on track to double within the decade. [Clean Technica]

Gas prices are rising despite a big increase in petroleum production. [Energy Collective]

South Florida’s coral and algae populations are declining due to climate change, threatening the local tourism and fishing industries. [WLRN]

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Thanks to the rise of wind power assisted by government subsidized, nuclear power is being squeezed out of the U.S. market even as reliance on coal goes down. [Bloomberg]

Global warming is allowing evergreen trees and shrubs to move into areas that were perpetual tundra for most of the 20th Century. [Discover]