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January 10, 2007

Warming increases in 2006

By Marc Kaufman – Washington Post

“WASHINGTON – Last year was the warmest in the continental United States of the past 112 years – capping a nine-year warming streak “unprecedented in the historical record,” the government said Tuesday. It also said that climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels has set the stage for increasingly hotter temperatures.

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.

“People should be concerned about what we are doing to the climate,” said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the climate monitoring branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Burning of fossil fuels is causing an increase in greenhouse gases, and there’s a broad scientific consensus that it’s producing climate changes.”

Te center said there are indications that the rate at which global temperatures are rising is speeding up.

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 continental states were above or well above average, and New Jersey logged its hottest temperatures ever.

Many researchers are concerned that rising temperatures could lead to widespread melting of the polar ice caps, resulting in droughts and storms. But NOAA pointed out one silver lining: The unusually warm temperatures from October to December helped reduce residential energy use for heating by 13.5 percent below the average for that period.

Climate experts generally do not make much of temperature fluctuations over one or two years, but Lawrimore said the record 2006 temperatures were part of a long and worrisome trend. For instance, NOAA said, the past nine years on record for the U.S.,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a public interest group. “When you look at temperatures across the globe, every single year since 1993 has been in the top 20 warmest years on record.

Lawrimore said other NOAA research has found that northern hemisphere temperatures have not been this high for more than 1,000 years, and that the rate of temperature increase has been significantly greater in the past 30 years than any time since the government started collecting national temperature data. The government has been collecting temperature data since 1895, currently from a total of 1,200 sites. Globally, 2005 was the hottest year on record. Lawrimore said, and 2006 was slightly cooler.

The burning of oil and other fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which rises, blankets the Earth and traps heat. Climate scientists report there has not been this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the past 650,000 years.”

This article was printed in the Spokesman Review on January 10, 2007.

There’s a “silver lining”? What! In the Earth’s coffin? The “silver lining” comment made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is very callous concerning the harm Global Warming is doing. And by-the-way, although the information was good, “Global Warming” as a term was not used once. Was the government trying to pacify the public with the “silver lining” comment?” We wonder too.

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