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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 2000 - Annual Review
National Climatic Data Center

January 12, 2001

2000 Global Temperature Anomalies
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Contents of Global Report:

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Top of Page Global Temperatures

Global temperatures in 2000 were 0.39C (0.7F) above the long-term (1880-1999) average*, the sixth warmest year on record (see graph above). The only years warmer were 1998, 1997, 1995, 1990 and 1999. Land temperatures were 0.59C (1.1F) above average and ocean temperatures 0.30C (0.5F) above the 1880-1999 mean. A strong La Nina at the beginning of 2000 weakened during July and August, but was still evident at year's end. Cooler than normal temperatures throughout the eastern equatorial Pacific held down temperatures in the tropics. But temperatures in the non-tropical Northern Hemisphere continued to average near record levels. Temperatures north of 20N were the third warmest on record, 0.69C above average. Annual anomalies in excess of 1.0C (1.8F) were widespread across Canada, Scandinavia, and much of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

*The 1880-1999 average combined land and ocean annual temperature is 13.9C (56.9F), the annually averaged land temperature for the same period is 8.5F (47.3F), and the long-term annually averaged sea surface temperature is 16.1C (60.9F).


Top of Page Temperature Trends

During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a rate near 0.6C/Century (1.1F/Century), but this trend increased to a rate approaching 0.2C/Decade (0.36F/Decade) during the past 25 years. There have been two sustained periods of warming, one beginning around 1910 and ending around 1945, and the most recent beginning about 1976. Temperatures during the latter period of warming have increased at a rate comparable to the rates of warming projected to occur during the next Century with continued increases of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (IPCC, 2001).

Satellite measurements of lower tropospheric temperatures (the lowest 8 kilometers of the Earth's atmosphere) collected since 1979 also indicate warming, but not to the extent shown by surface observations. The adjacent figure shows annual anomalies for both the surface and lower tropospheric temperatures from 1979 to 2000. (Satellite measurements of lower tropospheric temperatures are collected by NOAA's TIROS-N polar-orbiting satellites via the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) and adjusted for time-dependent biases by NASA and the Global Hydrology and Climate Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville). MSU/Surface Temperatures
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While lower tropospheric temperatures as measured by the MSU indicate an increase of 0.04C/Decade (0.07F/Decade), surface temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.14C/Decade (0.25F/Decade). However, measurements of lower tropospheric (850 millibar to 300 millibar layer) temperatures collected from instrumented ballons (radiosondes) since 1958* indicate a rate of warming very similar to that shown by surface temperature measurements. The figure to the right shows annual anomalies for both lower tropospheric and surface temperature measurements since 1958 and the corresponding trend lines. Temperature measurements of the lower troposphere indicate an increase of 0.09C/Decade (0.16F/Decade) while surface temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.10C/Decade (0.18F/Decade).

*Data set developed by Jim Angell of NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory

Angell/Surface Temperatures
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Top of Page Regional Temperatures

Global Temperature Anomalies
Annual temperature anomalies reflect this warming throughout much of the globe. As shown in the adjacent figure, temperatures were more than 1-2C above the 1961-1990 average throughout Canada, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. A prolonged heat wave gripped much of southern Europe during June and July and claimed many lives across the region as temperatures exceeded 43C (110F) across much of Turkey, Greece, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria. Temperatures in Canada are expected to be more than 1C above normal, the sixth warmest year on record, while Japan is expected to record its fifth warmest year since records began 105 years ago.
The only widespread area of below normal temperatures was in Australia. The first six to seven months of 2000 were abnormally cool across much of the continent, but unusual warmth developed in August and continued into the Southern Hemisphere spring. Although temperatures averaged more than 5C (9F) above normal across a large part of central and eastern Australia during the 2000 summer Olympics, annual temperatures are expected to be below average in Australia for the first time since 1984.

Top of Page Global Precipitation

Global Precipitation Anomalies larger image
Globally averaged precipitation was above average in 2000. Although many areas of the world experienced devastating drought in 2000, for the globe as a whole, 2000 was the 3rd wettest year on record, 41.9mm (1.65 inches) above normal. Precipitation patterns throughout the Tropics were dominated by La Nina throughout much of the year. Indonesia, the tropical Indian Ocean and the western tropical Pacific all experienced greatly enhanced precipitation during the period, while the central tropical Pacific experienced virtually no rainfall at all. Other regions influenced by La Nina included northeast South America and southern Africa, which experienced enhanced precipitation. Conversely, La Nina contributed to below-normal precipitation over equatorial east Africa and along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Heavy rain led to flooding in Columbia from June to August, the Southern Alps were severely affected by heavy rains in October, and monsoon flooding led to great loss of life in India, Bangladesh and the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in 2000. In Central America, mudslides brought on by torrential rains killed thirteen people in Guatemala, and Rama City, Nicaragua was flooded in June when heavy rains caused the Rama River to overflow. Several strong Cyclones (Eline, Gloria and Hudah) also caused severe flooding and widespread devastation in Madagascar, Mozambique and parts of Southern Africa. Conversely, severe drought plagued parts of the Middle East, central Asia and southeastern Europe in 2000. The most devastating drought occurred in the countries of Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran where the worst drought in more than 30 years destroyed crops and killed livestock. The summer heat wave and lack of precipitation in southern Europe led to more than 1000 wildfires in Bulgaria that destroyed homes and consumed 125,000 hectares. One-fifth of the island of Samos, Greece was consumed by fire brought on by excessive heat and drought, and one of the worst wildfire seasons in fifty years destroyed more than 7.3 million acres of forest and grasslands in southern and western regions of the United States.

Top of Page References

IPCC, 2001: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. J.T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. vander Linden, X.Dai, K. Maskell, and C.A. Johnson (Eds.), Cambridge University Press, 881 pp.

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NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is the world's largest active archive of weather data. The preliminary temperature and precipitation rankings are available from the center by calling: 828-271-4800.

NOAA works closely with the academic and science communities on climate-related research projects to increase the understanding of El Niño and improve forecasting techniques. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center monitors, analyzes and predicts climate events ranging from weeks to seasons for the nation. NOAA also operates the network of data buoys and satellites that provide vital information about the ocean waters, and initiates research projects to improve future climate forecasts.

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For further information, contact:

Jay Lawrimore
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4750
email: Jay.Lawrimore@noaa.gov

-or-

Tom Ross
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4499
email: Tom.Ross@noaa.gov

-or-

Roger Winchell
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4040
email: Roger.Winchell@noaa.gov

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