The National Climatic Data Center’s head of climate monitoring Deke Arndt called the record highs in 2012 ”off the charts.” The Associated Press reported him saying that 2012 is ”a huge exclamation point at the end of a couple decades of warming,” which is attributable, according to the report, to both man-made climate change and natural variation.

Scientists say even with global warming, natural and local weather changes mean that temperatures will go up and down over the years. But overall, according to what’s being released, temperatures are climbing. In the United States, the temperature trend has gone up 1.3 degrees over the last century, according to NOAA data. The last year the U.S. was cooler than the 20th-century average was 1997.

Report: Average Temperatures in United States Hottest on Record

This chart shows 2012 compared to other years. (Image: NOAA/NCDC)

“These records do not occur like this in an unchanging climate,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “And they are costing many billions of dollars.”

Report: Average Temperatures in United States Hottest on Record

This map shows state rankings by average temperature. (Image: NOAA/NCDC)

What would so-called climate skeptics have to say about these records?

One of them, Steven Goddard who maintains the blog “Real Science,” wrote that NOAA “inflated the 2012 record maximum number,” which was reported to be 3.2 degrees warmer than the average for the entire 20th century. How did they allegedly inflate this? “By adding new stations which didn’t exist during the hot years of the 1930s,” Goddard wrote.

“An apples to apples comparison uses only the same stations,” he continued.  ”When that is done, 2012 doesn’t even crack the ten hottest years.”

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi (via Climate Depot) echoed these sentiments on Twitter the week before the numbers were formally released.

Report: Average Temperatures in United States Hottest on Record

Read more about NOAA’s 2012 State of the Climate here. Watch CBS’ report about the U.S.’s high average 2012 temperature:

Although the final numbers for global temperatures for 2012 from NOAA won’t be released until next week, according to the data, in the first 11 months of 2012, the world was on pace to have its eighth warmest year on record.

In the mean time, in other world global temperature news, on Tuesday the U.K.’s MET office scaled back forecasts for how much it predicted the world would warm by 2017. According to the BBC, it had previously predicted a rise in temperature by 0.54 C but a new computer model set it at 0.43 C. BBC noted the MET Office saying that the work is experimental though that that it will stand by the predictions it has made for the longer term.

If the newest computer model is correct, this means the average global temperature was static for about the last two decades, according to BBC. Here’s the MET’s response to this:

A Met Office spokesman said “this definitely doesn’t mean any cooling – there’s still a long-term trend of warming compared to the 50s, 60s or 70s.

“Our forecast is still for temperatures that will be close to the record levels of the past few years.

“And because the natural variability is based on cycles, those factors are bound to change the other way at some point.”

Still, there are some who believe the difference shown in this computer model could cause questioning of the accuracy of other models. According to the Daily Mail, Dr. David Whitehouse with the Global Warming Policy Foundation said that with no statistically significant change in global temperatures since 1998 would “pose fundamental problems for climate models.”

“If the latest Met Office prediction is correct, then it will prove to be a lesson in humility,” Whitehouse said, according to the Daily Mail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured image via Shutterstock.com.