According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 55.3°F, which was 3.2°F above the 20th century average and 1.0°F above the previous record from 1998. The year consisted of the fourth warmest winter, a record warm spring, the second warmest summer, and a warmer-than-average autumn. Although the last four months of 2012 did not bring the same unusual warmth as the first 8 months of the year, the September through December temperatures were warm enough for 2012 to remain the record warmest year, by a wide margin.
This is one of those science stories that is on one hand fairly simple, and on the other hand fairly complex, where the interface between simplicity and complexity causes little balls of misunderstanding to come flying out of the mix like pieces of raw pizza dough if the guy making the pizza was the Tasmanian Devil from the cartoons.
What is true: A scientist named Ryskin proposes that decadal or century scale minor wiggling in the measured Earth’s magnetic field is influenced by changes in ocean currents. Plausible. Interesting. Could explain some things. Not earthshaking.
What is not true: The earth’s magnetic field is caused by ocean currents. The earth’s magnetic field’s long term variations, like reversals in field orientation, are caused by ocean current changes. The Earth’s magnetic field causes oceanic current changes or the currents are the sole cause of secular variation. The cause of the earth’s magnetic field is not, as previously thought, the molten dynamo thingie inside the earth.