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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 1998
Annual Review:
Global Temperatures

National Climatic Data Center

January 12,1999

Global Mean Temperature Anomalies
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Global Mean Temperature Anomalies - 1998

The above time series shows the combined global land and ocean temperature anomalies from 1880 to 1998 with respect to an 1880-1997 base period. The largest anomaly occurred in 1998, making it the warmest year since widespread instrument records began in the late Nineteenth Century. The second warmest year was 1997, and seven of the ten warmest years have occurred in the 1990s.

Global Mean Annual Temperature Anomalies
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A map of surface temperature anomalies for 1998, derived by merging both sea and land surface temperatures, shows the extent of the anomolously warm temperatures. This map product is based on both satellite and surface measurements. The anomalies from both data sets are with respect to a 1992 - 1998 base period, itself a warm period in global temperature history.
While anomolously warm temperatures are found throughout the tropics, the warmest anomalies occurred over North America and northern Asia. Most of China averaged above normal for the year, as did Australia and the mideast. The areas of extensive cold anomalies occurred over the mid latitudes of the eastern Pacific Ocean, and along the west equatorial central Pacific. The coldest anomalies existed in far eastern Siberia and the adjoining ocean.

The following time series shows the global land and sea surface combined mean temperature anomalies as well as the sea surface and land surface components separately for the 1880 - 1998 period, with respect to the base period 1880-1997.

Both the sea and land surfaces set record high anomalies in 1998, although the magnitude of the sea surface anomaly is smaller than the 'land only' anomaly. There is still a high correspondence between the independent land and ocean time series. These two surfaces generally have temperature anomalies that vary in concert with one another.

The land surface generally has larger anomalies, compared the ocean surface, because the ocean can store heat through a greater volume and water has a higher heat capacity. As a result, sea surface temperatures have a smaller interannual variability.

Global Mean Annual Surface Temperature Anomalies
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Global Mean Annual Surface Temperature Anomalies between 30N and 30S
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Much of the positive global temperature anomaly during 1998 can be attributed to the zonal band between 30S-30N, where anomalies were close to 1C for the year, setting a new record. Widespread positive sea surface temperature anomalies in low latitudes contributed to the overall warm anomalies in this low latitude belt.

Record warmth was also generally observed over the mid- and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. The warmth was most notable in North America, and eastern Asia. Much of Europe and western Asia also recorded warmer than normal temperatures for the year, but the anomalies were smaller than those observed elsewhere.

Temperatures from the Southern Hemisphere band 30S - 90S, while not record-breaking, were also above normal. South Africa and Australia generally were anomalously warm during the majority of the year, whereas northern Argentina averaged cooler than normal.


For further information, contact:

    Mike Changery
    NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
    151 Patton Avenue
    Asheville, NC 28801-5001
    fax: 828-271-4328
    email: mchangry@ncdc.noaa.gov
-or-
    David Easterling
    NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
    151 Patton Avenue
    Asheville, NC 28801-5001
    fax: 828-271-4328
    email: david.easterling@noaa.gov
-or-
    Rob Quayle
    NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
    151 Patton Avenue
    Asheville, NC 28801-5001
    fax: 828-271-4328
    email: rquayle@ncdc.noaa.gov

NCDC / Climate Resources / Climate of 1998 / Annual / Global Temp / Search / Help


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