2009 Global Temperatures Significantly Above Average

| by NOAA

Global surface temperatures for 2009 will be well above the long-term average, while the annual temperature for the contiguous United States will likely be above the long-term average, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The analysis is based on global records, which began in 1880 and U.S. records beginning in 1895. The NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

Global Temperature and Precipitation Highlights:

* Global land and ocean annual surface temperatures through October are the fifth warmest on record, at 1.01 degrees F above the long-term average.

* NOAA scientists project 2009 will be one of the 10 warmest years of the global surface temperature record, and likely finish as the fourth, fifth or sixth warmest year on record.

* The 2000 – 2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.96 degree F above the 20th century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.65 degree F.

* Ocean surface temperatures (through October) were the sixth warmest on record, at 0.85 degree F above the 20th century average.

* Land surface temperatures through October were the fifth warmest on record, at 1.44 degree F above the 20th century average.

* Arctic sea ice extent reached its third smallest annual minimum on record behind 2007 and 2008. The past five years have produced the lowest sea ice extents on record.

U.S. Temperature and Precipitation Highlights:

* The average annual temperature for the contiguous United States is projected to be above normal. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in 2009 will be above the long-term average.

* Winter (December-February) 2008-09 temperatures were near normal overall for the contiguous United States. Texas had its driest winter on record, while North Dakota had its wettest.

* Springtime (March-May) temperatures for the nation were above normal, with only four states (Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Arkansas) cooler than normal. Georgia experienced its second wettest spring and the Southeast climate region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia) as a whole had its fifth wettest such period.

* The average summer (June-August) temperature in the contiguous United States was below the long-term average for the first time since 2004. Only the Northwest averaged above normal temperature readings during the period.

* Autumn (September-November) was a season of extremes for the nation. Nevada and California experienced record warmth in September. October was abnormally cool for the vast majority of the nation, while November brought substantially warmer-than-normal conditions.

Other Highlights:

* The Atlantic hurricane season had below average activity, with nine named storms, three of them hurricanes.

* A major winter storm in late March established new 24-hour snowfall records for three states: Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

* There were 1,110 preliminary tornado reports across the United States through November, making 2009 likely to be the sixth-quietest tornado year since 1990.

* A fast start to the U.S. wildfire season slowed by mid-year. The nationwide acreage burned by wildfire declined to below average by year’s end. The annual number of fires remained slightly above average.

NOAA’s preliminary reports, which assess the current state of the climate, are released soon after the end of each month. These analyses are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NOAA’s processing algorithms.

Scientists, researchers, and leaders in government and industry use NOAA’s monthly reports to help track trends and other changes in the world's climate. This climate service has a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what and when to plant, to guiding resource managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.

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