How hot was it? NOAA knows

How hot was it? NOAA knows

Working from a 1.4-petabyte database of weather readings, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climatic Data Center has reported the weather highlights of 2002: widespread drought, a return of El Nino and global high temperatures.

Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate monitoring at the Asheville, N.C., center, said the volume of weather data has more than doubled since 1999 and is 'increasing almost exponentially.'

The world's largest weather statistics database gets its readings from about 7,000 surface stations plus sea temperatures from satellites, ships and buoys, Lawrimore said. NOAA's Hierarchical Data Storage System stores them in a robotic tape library and downloads subsets for analysis.

Here are some of the year's highlights, from :

  • 2002 is one of the warmest years since U.S. records began in 1895, and it may well be the second-warmest on record; the warmest year was 1998. Average national temperature in 2002 so far is 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The site also posts temperatures by state.

  • Average temperature in the contiguous United States has risen about one degree since 1895.

  • Drought afflicted one-third of the nation in 2002, mainly in the northwest and along the eastern seaboard.

  • El Nino currents in the equatorial Pacific Ocean suppressed the number of major hurricanes'there were only two.


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