Global Analysis - December 2006


Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data, globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the warmest on record for December 2006 and fifth warmest for January-December.
  • December temperatures were above average in the United States, Europe, southern Asia, central Russia, and most of South America. Cooler-than-average conditions occurred in the Middle East Region.
  • Precipitation during December was above average in Scandinavia, England, Japan, central U.S., southeastern Africa, and most of South America. Drier than average conditions were observed in the eastern U.S., central Europe, eastern Australia and southern India.
  • ENSO conditions persisted in a warm phase (El Niño) during December.

Contents of this Section:

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The data presented in this report are preliminary. Ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed. The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.
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Top of PageIntroduction

Temperature anomalies for December 2006 are shown on the dot maps below. The dot map, below left, provide a spatial representation of anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) data set of land surface stations using a 1961-1990 base period. The dot map, below right, is a product of a merged land surface and sea surface temperature anomaly analysis developed by Smith and Reynolds (2005). Temperature anomalies with respect to the 1961-1990 mean for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. Additional information on this product is available.

Anomalously warm temperatures have covered much of the globe throughout the year. The January-December 2006 map of temperature anomalies show the presence of warmer than average temperatures across all land areas except central Russia. Warmer than average SSTs occurred in all oceans with the expection of portions of the South Pacific and South Indian Oceans where cooler than average conditions were observed.
During December, there were above average temperatures across the U.S., Europe, southern Asia, central Russia, eastern South America, and western coast of Canada. Cooler than average temperatures were observed in the Middle East Region. Warmer than average SSTs occurred in the North Atlantic and the Niño regions. Temperatures in parts of these Niño regions were more than 1°C (1.80°F) above average, and the average temperature anomaly in the Niño 3.4 region increased in December to approximately 1.37°C (2.47°F). Please see the latest ENSO discussion for additional information on the developing El Niño event.

Current month's Land SurfaceTemperature Dot map
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Current month's blended Land and sea surface Temperature Dot map
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The mean position of upper level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the December map) are generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively. For other Global products see the Climate Monitoring Global Products page.

Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks during 2006 at the weekly SST page.

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Top of Page Temperature Rankings and Graphics

Effective with the January, 2006 report, NCDC transitioned from the use of the Operational Global Surface Temperature Index (Quayle et al. 1999) to the blended land and ocean dataset developed by Smith and Reynolds (2005). The differences between the two methods are discussed in Smith et al. 2005.

December 2006 was the warmest December since global surface records began in 1880 for combined global land and ocean surface temperatures. December land surface temperatures were 4th warmest, while ocean surface temperatures were 2nd warmest in the 127-year record, behind 1997 during which the very strong 1997/1998 El Niño event was developing. The January - December 2006 land and ocean combined temperature is tied for 5th warmest on record.
Current Month / Year-to-date
December Anomaly Rank Warmest Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+1.29°C (+2.32°F)
+0.51°C (+0.92°F)
+0.72°C (+1.30°F)

4th warmest
2nd warmest
1st warmest

1939 (+1.34°C/2.41°F)
1997 (+0.56°C/1.01°F)
2003 (+0.70°C/1.26°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+1.51°C (+2.72°F)
+0.55°C (+0.99°F)
+0.91°C (+1.64°F)


4th warmest
1st warmest
2nd warmest


1939 (+1.82°C/3.28°F)
2004 (+0.52°C/0.94°F)
2003 (+0.92°C/1.66°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.65°C (+1.17°F)
+0.49°C (+0.88°F)
+0.51°C (+0.92°F)


7th warmest
3rd warmest
3rd warmest


1997 (+0.80°C/1.44°F)
1997 (+0.60°C/1.08°F)
1997 (+0.63°C/1.13°F)

Global Land and Ocean Triad plot
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Global Hemisphere Triad plot
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January-December Anomaly Rank Warmest Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.78°C (+1.40°F)
+0.45°C (+0.81°F)
+0.54°C (+0.97°F)

4th warmest
5th warmest
5th warmest

2005 (+0.97°C/1.75°F)
2003 (+0.48°C/0.86°F)
2005 (+0.61°C/1.10°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.87°C (+1.57°F)
+0.49°C (+0.88°F)
+0.63°C (+1.13°F)


3rd warmest
4th warmest
2nd warmest


2005 (+1.02°C/1.84°F)
2005 (+0.54°C/0.97°F)
2005 (+0.72°C/1.30°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.54°C (+0.97°F)
+0.43°C (+0.77°F)
+0.44°C (+0.79°F)


6th warmest
5th warmest
6th warmest


2005 (+0.83°C/1.49°F)
1998 (+0.50°C/0.90°F)
1998 (+0.54°C/0.97°F)

Global Land and Ocean Triad plot
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Global Hemisphere Triad plot
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The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

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Top of Page Precipitation

The maps below represent anomaly values based on the GHCN data set of land surface stations using a base period of 1961-1990. During December 2006, above average precipitation fell over areas that include Scandinavia, Japan, central U.S., southeastern Africa, and most of South America. Below average precipitation was observed in eastern Australia, southcentral Europe, eastern U.S., eastern Brazil, and southern India. Additional details on flooding and drought can also be found on the December Global Hazards page.

Precipitation Dot map in Millimeters for December
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Precipitation Dot map in Percent for December
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Top of Page ENSO SST Analysis




Last week of the month's ENSO condtions Map
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  • Sea Surface Temperatures continued to increase across the equatorial Pacific Ocean during December, indicative of a moderate El Niño episode (shown in the adjacent animation of weekly sea surface temperature anomalies). A comprehensive summary of December 2006 ENSO conditions can be found on the ENSO monitoring page. For the latest advisory on ENSO conditions go to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the CPC ENSO Diagnostic Discussion

  • Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks since 2003 at the weekly SST page

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Top of Page References


Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Quayle, R. G., T. C. Peterson, A. N. Basist, and C. S. Godfrey, 1999: An operational near-real-time global temperature index. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 333-335.

Smith, T. M., and R. W. Reynolds (2005), A global merged land air and sea surface temperature reconstruction based on historical observations (1880-1997), J. Clim., 18, 2021-2036.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for December 2006, published online January 2007, retrieved on December 22, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2006/12.