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NOAA REPORTS 2006 WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR U.S.

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  • npat1
    NOAA REPORTS 2006 WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR U.S. General Warming Trend, El Niño Contribute to Milder Winter Temps NOAA image of U.S. state temperature
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2007
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      NOAA REPORTS 2006 WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR U.S.
      General Warming Trend, El Ni�o Contribute to Milder Winter Temps

      NOAA image of U.S. state temperature rankings for 2006.Jan. 9, 2007 �
      The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the
      warmest on record and nearly identical to the record set in 1998,
      according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in
      Asheville, N.C. Seven months in 2006 were much warmer than average,
      including December, which ended as the fourth warmest December since
      records began in 1895. (Click NOAA image for larger view of U.S. state
      temperature rankings for 2006. Please credit �NOAA.�)

      Based on preliminary data, the 2006 annual average temperature was 55
      degrees F�2.2 degrees F (1.2 degrees C) above the 20th Century mean
      and 0.07 degrees F (0.04 degrees C) warmer than 1998. NOAA originally
      estimated in mid-December that the 2006 annual average temperature for
      the contiguous United States would likely be 2 degrees F (1.1 degrees
      C) above the 20th Century mean, which would have made 2006 the third
      warmest year on record, slightly cooler than 1998 and 1934, according
      to preliminary data. Further analysis of annual temperatures and an
      unusually warm December caused the change in records.

      NOAA image of national temperatures for the contiguous United States
      from 1895 to 2006.These values were calculated using a network of more
      than 1,200 U.S. Historical Climatology Network stations. These data,
      primarily from rural stations, have been adjusted to remove artificial
      effects resulting from factors such as urbanization and station and
      instrument changes, which occurred during the period of record. (Click
      NOAA image for larger view of national temperatures for the contiguous
      United States from 1895 to 2006. Click here for high resolution
      version. Please credit �NOAA.�)

      An improved data set being developed at NCDC and scheduled for release
      in 2007 incorporates recent scientific advances that better address
      uncertainties in the instrumental record. Small changes in annual
      average temperatures will affect individual rankings. Although
      undergoing final testing and development, this new data set also shows
      2006 and 1998 to be the two warmest years on record for the contiguous
      U.S., but with 2006 slightly cooler than 1998.

      The unusually warm temperatures during much of the first half of the
      cold season (October-December) helped reduce residential energy needs
      for the nation as a whole. Using the Residential Energy Demand
      Temperature Index (REDTI�an index developed at NOAA to relate energy
      usage to climate), NOAA scientists determined that the nation's
      residential energy demand was approximately 13.5 percent lower than
      what would have occurred under average climate conditions for the
      season.

      After a cold start to December, the persistence of spring-like
      temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the country during the final
      two to three weeks of 2006 made this the fourth warmest December on
      record in the U.S., and helped bring the annual average to record high
      levels. For example, the monthly average temperature in Boston was 8
      degrees F above average, and in Minneapolis-St Paul, the temperature
      was 17 degrees F above average for the last three weeks of December.
      Even in Denver, which had its third snowiest December on record and
      endured a major blizzard that brought the city to a standstill during
      the holiday travel season, the temperature for the month was 1.4
      degrees F warmer than the 1971-2000 average.

      Five states had their warmest December on record (Minnesota, New York,
      Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire) and no state was colder than
      average in December.

      The unusually warm start to this winter reflected the rarity of Arctic
      outbreaks across the country as an El Ni�o episode continued in the
      equatorial Pacific. A contributing factor to the unusually warm
      temperatures throughout 2006 also is the long-term warming trend,
      which has been linked to increases in greenhouse gases. This has made
      warmer-than-average conditions more common in the U.S. and other parts
      of the world. It is unclear how much of the recent anomalous warmth
      was due to greenhouse-gas-induced warming and how much was due to the
      El Ni�o-related circulation pattern. It is known that El Ni�o is
      playing a major role in this winter's short-term warm period.

      U.S. and global annual temperatures are now approximately 1.0 degrees
      F warmer than at the start of the 20th century, and the rate of
      warming has accelerated over the past 30 years, increasing globally
      since the mid-1970s at a rate approximately three times faster than
      the century-scale trend. The past nine years have all been among the
      25 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S., a streak which is
      unprecedented in the historical record.

      NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200
      years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of
      the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation
      of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the
      1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. NOAA
      is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety
      through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
      events and information service delivery for transportation, and by
      providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine
      resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of
      Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than
      60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global
      monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes,
      predicts and protects.

      Relevant Web Sites
      NOAA 2006 Annual Climate Review: U.S. Summary

      NOAA National Climatic Data Center

      Media Contact:
      John Leslie, NOAA Satellite and Information Service, (301) 713-1265

      http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/s2772.htm
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