Washington (DC) – Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published temperature data for 2008. In the United States, the temperature was “0.2 degrees [Fahrenheit] above the 20th Century average [of 53.2 degrees F].” Also, “The average [U.S.] December 2008 temperature of 32.5 degrees F was 0.9 degree below the 20th Century average.”
In 2008, the United States had 14 states that were rated “Below Normal,” four states that were “Much Below Normal,” six states “Above Normal” and two states “Much Above Normal.” The remaining 22 were rated “Near Normal.” No annual records were set in 2008, and the country was warmer to the Southeast and cooler to the West, Northwest and Northern middle. Northeast and southern middle, including a strip across Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia were all normal.
In 2008, the United States recorded an average precipitation of 30.48 inches, which is 1.34 inches above the long-term average. Twenty-two states recorded “Above Normal” precipitation, with eight recording “Much Above Normal.” Two states were “Below Normal,” Florida and Oklahoma. And only Texas was rated “Much Below Normal.” The remaining 14 states were rated “Near Normal.” No annual precipitation records were set in 2008.
The NOAA has observed, “The nation’s January-December average temperature has increased at a rate of 0.12 degrees F per decade since 1895, and at a faster rate of 0.41 degrees F per decade during the last 50 years.”
In December, 2008, a series of snowstorms “moved across the western, central, and northern states during December, breaking more than 2000 daily snowfall records.” NOAA satellites observed that during this time, 6.8 million square miles of North America were covered by snow (including Canada), which is 0.4 million square miles above the average.
In 2008, NOAA estimates 77,772 wildfires burned approximately 5.2 million acres in the United States.