2006 USA’s Warmest Year On Record

“The past nine years have all been among the 25 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S., unprecedented in the historical record.”

– NOAA


January 10, 2007  Asheville, North Carolina
–  NOAA’s National Climate Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, reports that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the United States. The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was slightly higher than the record set in 1998. Seven months in 2006 were much warmer than average, including December, which ended as the fourth warmest December since records began in 1895 and the hottest December in the history of Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Based on preliminary data, the 2006 annual average temperature was 55 degrees, which was 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) above the 20th Century mean and 0.07 degrees F. (0.04 degrees C.) warmer than 1998. These values were calculated using a network of more than 1,200 U.S. Historical Climatology Network stations. These data, primarily from rural stations, have been adjusted to remove artificial effects resulting from factors such as urbanization and station and instrument changes, which occurred during the period of record.

 

Spring in Winter 2006

After a cold start to December, the persistence of spring-like temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the country during the final two to three weeks of 2006 made this the fourth warmest December on record in the U.S., and helped bring the annual average to record high levels. For example, the monthly average temperature in Boston was 8 degrees F. above average, and in Minneapolis-St Paul, the temperature was 17 degrees F. above average for the last three weeks of December. Even in Denver, which had its third snowiest December on record and endured a major blizzard that brought the city to a standstill during the holiday travel season, the temperature for the month was 1.4 degrees F warmer than the 1971-2000 average.

 

El Nino’s Role

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.

 

Global Warming Is Real

U.S. and global annual temperatures are now approximately 1.0 degrees F. warmer than at the start of the 20th century, and the rate of warming has accelerated over the past 30 years, increasing globally since the mid-1970s at a rate approximately three times faster than the century-scale trend. The past nine years have all been among the 25 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S., unprecedented in the historical record.

National temperatures for the contiguous United States measured for 111 years from 1895 to 2006. Graph courtsey NOAA.
National temperatures for the contiguous United States measured for 111 years from 1895 to 2006. Graph courtsey NOAA.

More Information:

For further information about global warming, please see the Earthfiles Archives below.

  • 12/16/2006 — Updated: Unprecedented Die-Off of 2,500 Mallard Ducks in Idaho
  • 12/07/2006 — Earth Headed for Warmest Period in 55 Million Years?
  • 11/09/2006 — Outer Space Sunshade to Cool Earth in Global Warming?
  • 09/09/2006 — Methane – Another Threat in Global Warming
  • 08/23/2006 — Solar Cycle 24 – Headed for Intense X Flares by 2010-2012?
  • 08/19/2006 — Repair of Earth’s Ozone Layer Has Slowed
  • 07/18/2006 — 2006 – Hottest Year So Far in U. S. History
  • 06/24/2006 — “High Confidence” Earth Is Warmest in 400 Years – Maybe Even 2,000 Years
  • 04/08/2006 — Recent Caribbean Coral Reef Die-Off Biggest Ever Seen
  • 03/17/2006 — Planet Earth’s Ice Melt
  • 02/20/2006 — Mysterious Deaths of Whales in Mexico
  • 11/18/2005 — Is the Sun Heating Up?
  • 10/07/2005 — Warmer Sea Surfaces and Increased Wind Power Are Making Hurricanes Stronger
  • 09/29/2005 — 2005 Arctic Summer Ice Melt – Largest On Record
  • 09/23/2005 — 9 X-Class Solar Flares Between September 7 – 19, 2005.
  • 09/23/2005 — Phenomenon of “Instant” Hurricanes in 2005
  • 09/15/2005 — Animal Mutilations Reported in Switzerland, Hollywood and Kansas
  • 08/26/2005 — What Is Killing Amphibians Around the World?
  • 08/18/2005 — Unusual Summer Swarm of Arkansas Copperheads
  • 08/05/2005 — Scientists Puzzled by “Bizarre” Pacific Coast Die-offs in 2005
  • 05/11/2005 — Greenland Sea Cold Water Re-Cycling Has Nearly Stopped. Britain Expected to Become Cooler.
  • 05/07/2005 — Did Milky Way Gas and Dust Turn Earth Into Icy Snowball Four Times?
  • 02/26/2005 — Collapse of Societies: From Easter Island to Iraq – to Western World?
  • 02/03/2005 — Kyoto Protocol Goes Into Effect February 16, 2005. British Scientists Warn Global Temperatures Could Climb Higher Than Earlier Estimates.
  • 01/22/2005 — From U. S. to Arctic – A Sea Change in the Weather
  • 12/31/2004 — Abrupt Climate Change Occurred Worldwide 5,200 Years Ago
  • 11/02/2004 — North Pole Summers Without Ice?
  • 10/15/2004 — Ever-Increasing Carbon Dioxide Build-Up in Atmosphere Since 1958
  • 09/17/2004 — Cat 4 and 5 Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan in Four Weeks -Unprecedented in American Recorded Weather History
  • 08/27/2004 — Global Warming Impact On Birds – More Extinctions Expected
  • 08/14/2004 — Oceans Are Absorbing A Lot of Greenhouse CO2. As Chemistry Changes, What Happens to Sea Life?
  • 08/01/2004 — Sixth Straight Year Hundreds of Birds Die at Roestler Lake, North Dakota
  • 02/27/2004 — Abrupt Climate Change: Scenario from A Pentagon-Commissioned Report
  • 02/23/2004 — Is There Liquid Water on Martian Surface?
  • 01/02/2004 — Earth’s Speeded Rotation Puzzles Scientists
  • 11/29/2003 — Glaciers Are Melting Around the World So Fast That Water Supplies Could Be Threatened
  • 10/29/2003 — Fifth Intense Solar X-Flare – What’s Happening On the Sun?
  • 05/30/2003 — Scientists Surprised by Common House Fly Fossils in Antarctica
  • 01/05/2003 — What Are the Grooves in the Martian South Pole?
  • 12/14/2002 — Arctic Rivers’ Fresh Water Flows Could Change Atlantic Ocean Current
  • 11/14/2002 — What Happened 12,000 Years Ago That Killed So Many Animals?
  • 10/21/2002 — Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Ice Cap Is Melting Fast
  • 08/27/2002 — August 2002: Severe to Moderate Drought in 37 States
  • 07/20/2002 — Extinctions of Earth Life Are Accelerating Rapidly
  • 06/04/2002 — EPA Admits Humans Burning Fossil Fuels A Big Factor in Global Warming
  • 03/30/2002 — Drought Worsens in United States
  • 03/21/2002 — Antarctic Peninsula Is Melting – And So Is Arctic Ice
  • 02/13/2002 — January 2002 Warmest On Record For Whole World
  • 01/30/2002 — Latest Satellite Data Shows Surprisingly Thicker Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica
  • 01/05/2002 — Global Warming – Could Increasing Carbon Dioxide Gas Be Transformed Into Limestone?
  • 12/22/2001 — Scientists Warn That Climate and Earth Life Can Change Rapidly
  • 06/09/2001 — Environmental Updates and Colt Mutilated in Leitchfield, Kentucky
  • 05/25/2001 — Federal GAO Report Does Not Rule Out Cell Phone Dangers
  • 04/18/2001 — April Environmental Updates
  • 03/24/2001 — Alps Permafrost Melting
  • 03/21/2001 — Earth Hasn’t Been This Warm Since the Pliocene 3 Million Years Ago
  • 03/04/2001 — Disappearing Glaciers – Evidence of A Rapidly Warming Earth
  • 02/25/2001 — Environmental Updates
  • 02/18/2001 — Environmental Updates and Mysterious Deaths of 2000 Atlantic Brant Geese
  • 02/07/2001 — 94% Decline In Aleutian Islands Sea Otter Population
  • 01/28/2001 — U. N. Global Warming Forecast: Up to 10.5 Degrees F. Hotter At End of 21st Century
  • 01/07/2001 — Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Punched 22 Miles Through Earth’s Entire Crust
  • 11/26/2000 — Environmental Updates
  • 10/30/2000 — Science, Environment and Medical Updates
  • 09/10/2000 — Arctic Ice Melt Threatens Polar Bears
  • 09/10/2000 — Largest-Ever Antarctic Ozone Hole
  • 07/09/2000 — The “Cell from Hell” Is Back in North Carolina Estuaries
  • 07/02/2000 — Brown Tide Devastating Long Island’s Great South Bay Shellfish
  • 06/17/2000 — Spring 2000 – Hottest On Record in U. S.
  • 05/07/2000 — Serious Drought in the Great Lakes
  • 04/20/2000 — Severe Arctic Ozone Loss and Deep Ocean Warming
  • 03/12/2000 — Environmental Updates and Mysterious Fires Near Scott, Arkansas
  • 01/13/2000 — Computer Projections About Earth Weather 2000-2100
  • 01/09/2000 — Global Warming Alert from NOAA and U.K.
  • 12/25/1999 — Y2K Nuclear Concern and Global Warming Update
  • 09/26/1999 — Could Ancient Microbes in Polar Ice Cause Epidemics?
  • 07/25/1999 — Maryland Fish Kills; Global Warming; and Warm Oceans and Disease
  • 06/04/1999 — Global Warming Linked to Increasingly Warmer and Wetter Winters in Europe & Western North America
  • 05/05/1999 — Two Antarctic Ice Shelves Almost Gone
  • 02/28/1999 — Chickadee Beak Deformities in Alaska
  • 01/24/1999 — Nuclear Sabotage in Maryland; Bull Mutilation in Colorado; and Global Warming

Websites:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)

NOAA 2006 Annual Climate Review: U.S. Summary

NOAA National Climatic Data Center


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