Climate of 2007
December in Historical Perspective

National Climatic Data Center
15 January 2007

Contents of this Report:

Selected Global Significant Events for December 2007

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Major Highlights

December 2007 Temperature Near Average, Global Temperature 13th Warmest on Record

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in December 2007 was near the 20th century mean, while the global surface temperature was 13th warmest in the 128-year record.

U.S. Temperature Highlights

For the contiguous U.S., the December 2007 mean temperature was 33.6°F, near the 20th century average of 33.4°F. The Southeast was much warmer than average, while 11 states - from the Upper Midwest to the West Coast - were cooler than average.

Warmer-than-average temperatures for December 2007 in large parts of the more heavily populated eastern U.S. resulted in temperature related energy demand about 1.9 percent below average for the nation as a whole, based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index. For the year, the REDTI estimates that national residential energy consumption was about 2.5 percent below average.

The average U.S. temperature for 2007 was 54.2°F; 1.4°F warmer than the 20th century mean of 52.8°F. NCDC originally estimated in mid-December that 2007 would end as the eighth warmest on record, but below-average temperatures in areas of the country last month lowered the annual ranking. For Alaska, 2007 was the 15th warmest year since statewide records began in 1918.

Six of the 10 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have occurred since 1998, part of a three decade period in which mean temperatures for the contiguous U.S. have risen at a rate near 0.6°F per decade.

U.S. Precipitation Highlights

December 2007 was wetter than normal for the contiguous U.S., the 18th wettest December since national records began in 1895. Thirty-seven states were wetter, or much wetter, than average. Only Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Dakota were drier than average.

Precipitation was much above average in Washington State, due to a powerful storm that struck the Pacific Northwest in early December. Heavy rain and wind gusts greater than 100 mph caused widespread damage and the worst flooding in more than a decade in parts of western Oregon and Washington. Many locations received more than 10 inches of rainfall during the first three days of the month.

While above-average precipitation in late November and December led to improving drought conditions in parts of the Southwest, Southeast, and New England, more than three-fourths of the Southeast and half of the West remained in some stage of drought.

Global Highlights

For December 2007, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the 13th warmest on record (0.72°F/0.40°C above the 20th century mean). Separately, the global December land-surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record. The most anomalously warm temperatures occurred from Scandinavia to central Asia.

La Niña continued to strengthen as ocean surface temperatures in large areas of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific were more than -3°F (-1.7°C) below average. The continuation of cooler-than-average temperatures dampened the global ocean average, which was the 18th warmest on record for December.

For 2007, the global land and ocean surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record. Separately, the global land surface temperature was warmest on record while the global ocean temperature was 9th warmest since records began in 1880. Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, part of a rise in temperatures of more than 1°F (0.6°C) since 1900. Within the past three decades, the rate of warming in global temperatures has been approximately three times greater than the century scale trend.

Report Index

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to the top United States Drought

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