Global Analysis - Annual 2006


2006 Global Temperature Anomalies
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PLEASE NOTE: The ranks and temperature anomalies in this report represent the values known at the time the report was issued. The actual ranks will change as subsequent years are added to the dataset. The anomalies themselves may change slightly as missing or erroneous data is resolved. Also, in 2009, NCDC switched to ERSST version 3b (from version 2) as a component of its global surface temperature dataset. Because the versions have slightly different methodologies, the calculated temperature anomalies will differ slightly. For more information about this switch please see the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies FAQ .

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Top of Page Global Temperatures

The global annual temperature for combined land and ocean surfaces in 2006 was +0.54°C (+0.97°F) above average, ranking 5th warmest in the period of record. However, uncertainties in the global calculations due largely to gaps in data coverage make 2006 statistically indistinguishable from 2005 and several other recent warm years as shown by the error bars on the global time series. Globally averaged land temperatures were +0.78°C (+1.40°F) and ocean temperatures +0.45°C (+0.81°F) above average, ranking 4th and 5th warmest, respectively. The land and ocean surface temperatures for the Northern and Southern Hemisphere ranked 2nd and 6th warmest, respectively.

The year began with ENSO in a weak cold phase (La Niña) which had developed during late 2005, and the presence of these La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific contributed to the lower global average temperature this year. By April and May 2006, the near-equatorial SST anomalies had warmed to near-normal in the central Pacific region as the ENSO transitioned to a neutral phase. El Niño conditions developed in September, and by the end of December, sea surface temperatures in most of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific were more than 1.0°C (1.8°F) above average. This El Niño event is likely to persist through May 2007, according to the latest information from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. For more information on the state of ENSO during 2006, please see the ENSO monitoring annual summary.

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)


**The 1901-2000 average combined land and ocean annual temperature is 13.9°C (56.9°F), the annually averaged land temperature for the same period is 8.5°C (47.3°F), and the long-term annually averaged sea surface temperature is 16.1°C (60.9°F).

Top of Page Regional Temperatures


Warmer than average conditions occurred throughout most land areas of the world again in 2006. The largest anomalies were present throughout high latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere including much of North America, Scandinavia, China and Africa. Temperatures in these regions were 2-4°C (3.6-7.2°F)* above the 1961-1990 average. The only widespread area of negative anomalies occurred in central Russia.
Global Temperature land surface dotmap
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Current year's Blended Land and Ocean Surface Temperature Dot map
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The map, above left, is created using data from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), a network of more than 7,000 land surface observing stations. The map, above 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.

Notable temperature extremes in 2006 included a heat wave that affected a large portion of the United States during July 16-25. California was particularly affected, with 140 deaths attributed to high temperatures soaring past 40°C (104°F). Hot weather also enveloped much of Europe during mid-to-late July, with temperatures surpassing 32°C (90°F). In Britain, on the afternoon of July 19th, temperatures reached 36.5°C (97.7°F) at Wisley, the hottest July temperature ever recorded in Britain. By late July across Europe, at least 50 deaths were blamed on the heat in Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

In India, frost was observed in New Delhi for the first time in 70 years as cold air flowing from the Himalayas produced a low temperature of 0.2°C (32.3°F) on January 9th. The record low occurred on January 16, 1935, when -0.6°C (31°F) was reported. In Russia, a severe cold wave, which arrived during January 17-18, brought some of the coldest temperatures to the region in decades. Moscow temperatures plummeted to -30°C (-22°F), the coldest readings since the winter of 1978-1979, when temperatures dropped to -38°C (-36°F). In June, unseasonably cold temperatures affected areas of Australia, with many locations breaking their all-time record minimum temperatures for the month. Averaged across Australia as a whole, it was the fourth coldest June in the post-1950 record.

Additional information on other notable weather events can be found in the Significant Events section of this report.


Top of Page Global Precipitation

Global Precipitation Anomalies graph
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Global Precipitation Anomalies dotmap
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Global precipitation in 2006 was much above the 1961-1990 average, the largest value in five years. Regionally drier than average conditions were widespread across the U.S. Great Plains and Gulf Coast regions, the western coast of Canada and most of Australia. While the northeast U.S., Amazon Basin, India and Alaska all experienced wetter than average conditions.

A severe long-term drought continued throughout southern Ethiopia, southern Somalia, northeastern Kenya, as well as adjacent areas of eastern Uganda and Tanzania for most of the year. In February, drought in Somalia was characterized as the worst in a decade. In all, an estimated 11 million people in East Africa and the Horn of Africa continued to face critical food shortages brought about in part by the continuing drought despite the welcome rainfall that began in June.

In May, drought in China threatened the drinking water supply for nearly 14 million people in the northern part of the country. About 16.3 million hectares (40 million acres) of agriculture land, more than 12 percent of the nation's total, was affected by drought.

On Leyte Island, in the Philippines, approximately 20 inches (500 mm) of rain fell during the first half of February, leading to more than 1000 lives lost when the village of Guinsaugon was buried by a landslide. The Philippines was also affected by five landfalling typhoons in 2006, including Super Typhoon Durian which hit the southeastern part of the island on November 30.

During June, southern China received rainfall rates on the order of 99 mm (3.5 inches) in two hours forcing the Bashili River out of its banks and flooding 11 villages in the Fujian province. The Chinese government characterized the summer flooding as the worst in 30 years in parts of the country, with 349 weather-related deaths in June.

For more information about precipitation extremes during 2006, see the annual report of Significant Events.

Additional information on other notable weather events can be found in the Significant Events section of this report.

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NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is the world's largest active archive of weather data. The 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. This is a break in the document

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 Annual 2006, published online December 2006, retrieved on November 27, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2006/ann.