Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Getting warmer

Last year was the warmest in the continental United States in the past 112 years -- capping a nine-year warming streak "unprecedented in the historical record" that was driven in part by the burning of fossil fuels, the government reported yesterday.

According to the government's National Climatic Data Center, the record-breaking warmth -- which caused daffodils and cherry trees to bloom throughout the East on New Year's Day -- was the result of both unusual regional weather patterns and the long-term effects of the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


Average temperatures nationwide in 2006 were 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the mean temperatures nationwide for the 20th century, the agency said. It reported that seven months in 2006 were much warmer than average, and that last month was the fourth-warmest December on record. Average temperatures for all 48 contiguous states were above or well above average, and New Jersey logged its hottest temperatures ever.
If there was any good news, since the last three months were relatively toasty, heating costs were held down.

We'll get some relief in my area from the heat this weekend, with an arctic air mass providing us with lows near zero degrees Fahrenheit, and another ice storm (which, if it cuts electricity off for several days again in our community will keep the heating costs down considerably - remember kids, let's think positive here!). Don't get too excited, though. As soon as this cold snap does its worst (give it a week), we'll be back to those above average temps.

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