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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 11, NUMBER 7, JULY 1998

NEWS...
1998 TEMPERATURE


Item #d98jul113

Two 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 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/climate/research/1998/jun/us/us.html.)

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