NOAA announced that 2012 was the warmest year on record (see NCDC Announces Warmest Year on Record for Contiguous U.S.). Chicagoland has had a strange winter, and we also had a long drought over the summer, but it is difficult to recognize if we are just having a localized, abnormal year, or if out local weather is connected to larger trends. The NOAA report may suggest that our local weather is impacted by larger trends. Interestingly enough, Fox News has questioned the NOAA report and has given climate skeptics a platform (see Fox News Questions Whether Government Faked Hottest Year On Record Quotes “Skeptic” Blogger Sugges). It is interesting to watch how ideology colors this debate.