GREENHOUSE GASES LIKELY DROVE NEAR-RECORD U.S. WARMTH IN 2006
28, 2007 — Greenhouse
gases likely accounted for more than half of the widespread warmth across
the continental United States last year, according to a new study by
four scientists at NOAA’s
Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. Last year’s average
temperature was the second highest since record-keeping began in 1895.
The team found that it was very unlikely that the 2006 El
Niño played any role, though other natural factors likely
contributed to the unusual warmth. The findings will appear September
5 in the Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American
Geophysical Union. (Click NOAA image for larger view of map
showing above normal annual temperatures in 2006. Click here
for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
The annual average temperature in 2006 was 2.1 degrees F above the 20th Century average and marked the ninth consecutive year of above-normal U.S. temperatures. Each of the contiguous 48 states reported above-normal annual temperatures and, for the majority of states, 2006 ranked among the 10 hottest years since 1895.
wanted to find out whether it was pure coincidence that the two warmest
years on record both coincided with El Niño events,” says
lead author Martin
Hoerling of NOAA/ESRL. “We decided to quantify the impact
of El Niño and compare it to the human influence on temperatures
through greenhouse gases.” El Niño is a warming of the
surface of the east tropical Pacific Ocean.
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 Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
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Anatta, NOAA Research, 303-497-6288