2006 on pace to be warmest year on record in the US
mongabay.com
July 17, 2006


The average temperature for the continental United States from January through June 2006 was the warmest first half of any year since records began in 1895, according to scientists at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)

NOAA data showed that the average January-June temperature for the contiguous United States was 51.8°F (11.0°C) -- 3.4°F (1.8°C) above the 20th century (1901-2000) average. The government agency noted that five states (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri) experienced record warmth for the period while no state was cooler than average.

NOAA also reported that last month was the second warmest June on record and national precipitation was below average. It said that continued below-normal-levels of precipitation combined with warmer-than-average temperatures expanded drought conditions across the country.

"In June," said the agency, "45 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in moderate-to-extreme drought (based on the Palmer Drought Index), an increase of 6 percent from May, while 27 percent was in severe-extreme drought (up from 20 percent in May). Additionally, since January, warm, dry conditions have spawned more than 50,000 wildfires, burning more than 3,000,000 acres in the contiguous U.S. and Alaska (according to the National Interagency Fire Center)."


U.S. temperatures for July 17, 2006.
Courtesy of weather.com
Global findings

Based on preliminary data NOAA found that the global surface temperature was second warmest on record for June since records began in 1880. Temperatures for the month were 1.08°F/0.60°C above the 20th century mean. Overall NOAA said that 2006 is the sixth warmest year-to-date for the January-June period, 0.90°F/0.50°C above average.

NOAA's results come just months after a NASA study found that 2005 was the warmest year on record. Scientists say that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are contributing to climbing global temperatures. Recent research suggests that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at the highest level in at least 650,000 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could rise significantly by 2050, possibly resulting in higher temperatures, rising sea levels, stronger storms and hurricanes, and expanding deserts.





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This article used information and quotes from a National Climatic Data Center news release.



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CITATION:
mongabay.com (July 17, 2006).

2006 on pace to be warmest year on record in the US.

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