NOAA Discusses Global Warming

Map of the U.S. demonstrating that every state experienced record warmth this year.
U.S. temperature state rankings for 2006. Source: NOAA.

As I noted in a previous entry, 2006 was the United States’ warmest year on record and the sixth-warmest year worldwide. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently its yearly weather summary, including this amusing map showing temprature rankings of U.S. states. The NOAA attributed the trend to both El Niño and global warming and was surprisingly open about human-induced climate change, given that it is a U.S government agency. It said:

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.…The unusually warm start to this winter reflected the rarity of Arctic outbreaks across the country as an El Niño 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 Niño–related circulation pattern. It is known that El Niño is playing a major role in this winter’s short-term warm period.

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