March 28, 2010

Fifth Warmest Winter On Record Worldwide

Despite nearly two-thirds of the United States experiencing colder-than-normal seasonal temperatures, the 2009-2010 winter season was the fifth warmest on record worldwide. 

While a large part of the country was colder than usual this past winter, parts of the U.S. did have warmer-than-usual temperatures. Both New England and the Pacific Northwest joined in the global winter warmth. In addition, Maine had its third warmest winter on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center reported that the average worldwide temperature for the past winter was 54.9 degrees Fahrenheit. That is 1.08 degrees warmer than average for the three-month winter period.

While an El Nino has contributed to some of the warmth, as it is capable of affecting weather patterns over large areas, the worldwide temperature increase in recent years may also be attributed to chemicals added to the air by human activities since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

The NOAA reported in February that the past ten years have been the warmest period on record, surpassing the previous hottest decade -- the 1990s -- quite easily.

While the past winter has been one of the warmest on record, it has been unusually cooler across Europe, parts of Russia, and much of the United States. Most of Canada had above average temperatures, resulting in the warmest winter season since the country began recording in 1948.

Much of Australia also experienced warmer-than-average conditions during the same three-month period -- which is their summer -- except with cooler-than-average conditions across the northern range of the country.


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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)