February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 11, NUMBER 7, JULY 1998
independent analyses show that global average surface temperature for the
first part of 1998 has broken all-time records. On June 8, the U.S.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the
January-May reading exceeded the previous record by 0.25°C.
Contributing to the high temperature was a vigorous El Niño, and
NOAA suggests that global warming could be exacerbating El Niño's
effects on weather.
Vice President Al Gore used the results to support funding of the
Administration's proposal to spend $6 billion in tax cuts and research
designed to boost investment in energy-efficient technology. Funding for
this is currently stalled in Congress.
The other temperature analysis, done by the U.K. Meteorological Office
and the University of East Anglia, finds the first half of 1998 to be 0.6°C
warmer than the 1961-1990 average. An update of the NOAA analysis for the
full half year finds a similar result.
The reports suggest that 1998 could end up being the hottest year on
record, depending on the course of El Niño and its cool-water
counterpart La Niña, for the rest of the year.
(See "Hot Year, But Cool Response in Congress," Science,
p. 1684, June 12, 1998; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 5, June 12
and pp. 5-6, July 24. The NOAA analysis can be found at
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