Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Global warming: February update

Still one of the warmer months on record; but world chilled a bit in February, government says.

Global warming: February update

The latest U.N. report on the state of the world’s climate is due Monday, and if you have any interest in the subject, you’ve probably encountered stories about what to expect.

We are naturally skeptical of leaked documents since the sources are likely to be people with agendas, so we’ll wait to see what it has to say.

In the meantime, we catch up with the most-recent temperature report from the National Climate Data Center, which wasn’t much in the drama department.

Last month was the 21st warmest February in the period of record, dating to 1880, with temperatures 0.74 degrees Fahrenheit above 20th Century averages.

We have noted before that worldwide warming generally has been incremental, and it would be surprising if a recent month or year didn’t place among the higher readings on record.

In the last 30 years, a warm period, global temperatures have increased at the rate of about 0.025 degrees Fahrenheit per year, or 0.25 degrees per decade, according to both the National Climate Data Center's analysis of surface stations and NASA's satellite data.

In the context of the  period, the February 2014 global anomaly was middle of the pack, and, relative to averages, it was one of the cooler months of the last 10 years. January had finished 1.19 Fahrenheit above the 20th Century average.

February temperatures around here were well below normal, and Philadelphia is about to experience a third-consecutive month of below-normal temperatures for the first time in 11 years.

But comparatively the Scandinavians were roasting, with  temperatures in Norway were as much as 14 degrees Fahrenheit above normal last month.

And they did it without much help from the sun.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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