NOAA REPORTS WET, WARM YEAR FOR
THE U.S. IN 2004
Dec. 16, 2004 ó When 2004 ends, it will rank among the top 10 wettest years on record for the contiguous United States and is expected to be warmer than average, according to scientists at the NOAA Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The findings are based on preliminary data and historical records dating back to 1895. While parts of the West remained in drought, rainfall was above average in 33 states, especially in the South and East, partly due to the effects of tropical storms and hurricanes, which impacted 20 states. (Click on NOAA image for larger view of annual 2004 state rankings by temperature. Click here for high resolution version, which is a larger file. Please credit “NOAA.”)
Variable Year for Temperature in the U.S.
Alaska's annual temperature is expected to be approximately 1.8 degrees F above the 1971-2000 average for 2004, one of the five warmest years for the state, since reliable records began in 1918. Alaska had a record warm summer with a statewide temperature of 4.6 degrees F (2.6 degrees C) above the 1971-2000 mean. May, June, July and August were all record breaking for the state. Much of the West Coast also had record or near record temperatures for the summer of 2004. In contrast, much of the remainder of the contiguous U.S. was relatively cool during June-August, including several cities in the Upper Midwest that had afternoon high temperatures in the low 50s during the middle of August.
Spring temperatures across the U.S. were above average in all states, except Florida, which was near normal for the season. Fall was warm across much of the mid-section of the country, but the West remained near average. Winter began relatively warm in November and early December for states from the Upper Midwest to the East Coast.
in South and East
Hurricane Gaston also impacted the U.S. in August making landfall in South Carolina. In total, the hurricane season cost the U.S. an estimated $42 billion, the most costly season on record. That record has been calculated back to 1900. While there was extensive wind damage in Florida and other coastal locations, flooding was the major impact further inland. Frances impacted the Southeast and southern Appalachians after a wetter-than-average summer, causing millions of dollars in flood damage to the region. Shortly thereafter Ivan traveled a similar path through the mountains and led to widespread flooding, loss of power and landslides.
Other notable climate events and anomalies across the world in 2004 include an active tropical season in the Northwest Pacific with Japan sustaining ten tropical storm landfalls, exceeding the previous record of six; below normal monsoon rainfall for India, especially in the Northwest part of the country; flooding in Northeastern India from monsoon rains in June-October; a rare hurricane in the South Atlantic in March; and an extensive and severe heat wave in Australia during February.
Sea surface temperatures in much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific increased during the latter half of 2004 as weak El Niño conditions developed. Though global impacts have been slow to develop, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center expects the current El Niño to persist through early 2005, bringing drier-than-average conditions to Indonesia, northern Australia and southeastern Africa.
Climatic Data Center is part of the NOAA
Satellites and Information Service, America's primary source of
space-based oceanographic, meteorological and climate data. The NOAA
Satellites and Information Service operates the nation's environmental
satellites, which are used for ocean and weather observation and forecasting,
climate monitoring, and other environmental applications. Some of the
oceanographic applications include sea surface temperature for hurricane
and weather forecasting and sea surface heights for El Niño prediction.
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