In the Carolinas, 2012 was a record-breaking year for extreme weather.
That's according to the National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit organization that broke down government climate data by state and county. The result is a map of high temperatures, big snowfalls and large wildfires that senior scientist Kim Knowlton said demonstrates what climate change looks like.
"In North Carolina, there was record-breaking heat, really extreme rainfall events and 19 large wildfires," Knowlton said. "South Carolina, too, we saw record-breaking heat, so there are a lot of these types of events that climate change is fueling."
Knowlton said there's increasing consensus among scientists that climate change is leading to more extreme weather, and that doesn't just mean heat. It can also be linked to record snowfalls because higher temperatures in the atmosphere give more energy to storm systems.
But most of the records broken in the Carolinas were related to high temperatures. In Mecklenburg County, there were two heat records broken over the summer. In the Carolinas overall, there were more than 60 heat records broken last year and 25 wildfires that each blazed across at least 90 acres.