Mike Tidwell comments -More records broken.
March 17, 2007
THE world has just experienced its warmest December to February period on record, the US Government says.
Combined global land and ocean surface temperatures over the northern hemisphere’s winter were the highest since records began in 1880, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That included the hottest January on record.
The weather agency did not release the actual temperature recorded over the three months but said it was 0.72 degrees above the 20th century average.
Jay Lawrimore, from the administration’s National Climatic Data Centre, said the deviation from the average was more important than the actual temperature.
“Contributing factors were the long-term trend towards warmer temperatures, as well as a moderate El Nino in the Pacific,” Mr Lawrimore said.
He stopped short of blaming this year’s record temperature on greenhouse-gas emissions but admitted the long-term warming trend was due “in part” to rises in emissions.
The second warmest winter was in 2004 and the third warmest in 1998, Mr Lawrimore said. And each of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995.
Global land temperature during the northern hemisphere winter was also the warmest on record, while the ocean surface temperature tied for second warmest after the winter of 1997-98.
The agency reported that during the past century global surface temperatures had increased by nearly 0.06 degrees each decade.
That rate has increased since 1976, rising by 0.18 degrees each decade.