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SCIENCE FILE

Temperature data show this winter is the warmest

March 17, 2007|From Reuters

This has been the world's warmest winter since record-keeping began more than a century ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week.

The combined land and ocean temperature from December through February was 1.3 degrees above the 20th century mean, the agency said.

"Contributing factors were the long-term trend toward warmer temperatures as well as a moderate El Nino in the Pacific," said Jay Lawrimore of the agency's National Climatic Data Center.

The next-warmest winter on record was in 2004, and the third-warmest winter was in 1998, Lawrimore said. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995.

Temperatures were above average for the December-to-February period in Europe, Asia, western Africa, southeastern Brazil and the northeast of the United States, with cooler-than-average conditions in parts of Saudi Arabia and the central United States.

The global land-surface temperature during the Northern Hemisphere's winter was also the warmest on record, and the ocean-surface temperature tied for second-warmest, after the winter of 1997-98.

Over the last century, global surface temperatures have increased by about 0.11 degree per decade, but since 1976 the increase has been about 0.32 of a degree per decade, with some of the biggest temperature rises in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

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