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2006: hottest year in U.S. history.



Preliminary analysis of weather data gathered from more than 1,200 sites across the continental United States United States territory, including the adjacent territorial waters, located within North America between Canada and Mexico. Also called CONUS.  indicates that last year was the warmest on record.

The average temperature for 2006 was 12.8[degrees]C (55[degrees]F), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Noun 1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - an agency in the Department of Commerce that maps the oceans and conserves their living resources; predicts changes to the earth's environment; provides weather reports and forecasts floods and hurricanes and  (NOAA NOAA
abbr.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Noun 1. NOAA - an agency in the Department of Commerce that maps the oceans and conserves their living resources; predicts changes to the earth's environment;
) scientists reported on the agency's website Jan. 9. That's about 1.2[degrees]C above the average temperature for the 20th century and 0.04[degrees]C warmer than the previous yearly record, set in 1998, says Richard Helm Richard Helm is currently with The Boston Consulting Group where he consults on the strategic application of technology to business. His career spans high technology research, product development, systems integration, and IT consulting. , a meteorologist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

That year began during the strongest El Nino ever recorded (SN: 12/11/99, p. 374). Changes in weather patterns during E1 Ninos typically warm winter temperatures across much of North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. .

The latest El Nino began around the end of September, says Helm. Despite a frigid start to December in many areas, five states had their warmest Decembers ever, and no state measured below-average temperatures for that month. "Mother Nature fooled all of us and gave us a warm spell," he notes.

With temperatures above average from October through December, the nation's home-energy consumption was about 13.5 percent lower than it would have been if temperatures had been normal, the NOAA scientists estimate.
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Title Annotation:CLIMATE
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 20, 2007
Words:211
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