Chilly global warming

Lest we forget about global warming, average temperatures in the United States this year will fall somewhere between the 7th and 12th warmest year on record – based on recorded temperatures going back 106 years, Thomas R. Karl, director of the U.S. National Climatic Data Centre, reported recently.

  • And last November was the second coldest on record in the United States.

  • The year also included the coolest July on record in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, above-average rainfall in the summer in the Northeast and Midwest and a severe drought in the South.

  • And some computer models predict that without greenhouse gases released by human activity, global average temperatures would have fallen in the second half of the 20th century.

    "Of the natural factors influencing climate," explains the New York Times, "the energy output of the sun has increased, which would tend to lift temperatures, but a larger effect in recent years has been volcanic activity, which spews out gases that change into droplets in the upper atmosphere that reflect sunlight back into space."

    Speaking of the cold weather, Karl said "I think this goes to illustrate that even in a warming trend, one can and should expect an individual month with some very anomalously cold weather."

    Source: Kenneth Chang, U.S. Weather Follows Global Warming Trend, New York Times, December 20, 2000.

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