Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NOAA: 2008 Global Temperature Ties as Eighth Warmest on Record

NOAA: 2008 Global Temperature Ties as Eighth Warmest on Record

The year 2008 tied with 2001 as the eighth warmest year on record for the Earth, based on the combined average of worldwide land and ocean surface temperatures through December, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

For December alone, the month also ranked as the eighth warmest globally, for the combined land and ocean surface temperature. The assessment is based on records dating back to 1880.

The analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.

NCDC’s ranking of 2008 as the eighth warmest year compares to a ranking of ninth warmest based on an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The NOAA and NASA analyses differ slightly in methodology, but both use data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center – the federal government's official source for climate data.

Global Temperature Highlights – 2008

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature from January-December was 0.88 degree F (0.49 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 57.0 degrees F (13.9 degrees C). Since 1880, the annual combined global land and ocean surface temperature has increased at a rate of 0.09 degree F (0.05 degree C) per decade. This rate has increased to 0.29 degree F (0.16 degree C) per decade over the past 30 years.

Separately, the global land surface temperature for 2008, through December, was sixth warmest, with an average temperature 1.46 degrees F (0.81 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 47.3 degrees F (8.5 degrees C).

Also separately, the global ocean surface temperature for 2008, through December, was 0.67 degree F (0.37 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 60.9 degrees F (16.1 degrees C) and ranked tenth warmest.

Global Temperature Highlights – December 2008

The December combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.86 degree F (0.48 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 54.0 degrees F (12.2 degrees C).

Separately, the December 2008 global land surface temperature was 1.22 degrees F (0.68 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 38.7 degrees F (3.7 degrees C) and ranked 14th warmest.

For December, the global ocean surface temperature was 0.74 degree F (0.41 degree C) above the 20th Century average of 60.4 degrees F (15.7 degrees C) and tied with December 2001 and December 2005 as sixth warmest.

Other Global Highlights for 2008

The United States recorded a preliminary total of 1,690 tornadoes during 2008, which is well above the 10-year average of 1,270 and ranks as the second highest annual total since reliable records began in 1953. The high number of tornado-related fatalities during the first half of the year made 2008 the 10th deadliest with a 2008 total of 125 deaths.

Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in December was 16.95 million square miles (43.91 million square kilometers). This was 0.17 million square miles (0.43 million square kilometers) above the 1966-2008 December average. Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was below average for most of 2008.

Arctic sea ice extent in 2008 reached its second lowest melt season extent on record in September. The minimum of 1.80 million square miles (4.67 million square kilometers) was 0.80 million square miles (2.09 million square kilometers) below the 1979-2000 average minimum extent.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.


Officials send letter to Coast Guard asking for thorough investigation

Gloucester - The following letter was sent on Jan. 9 to Rear Admiral Dale Gabel, First Coast Guard District, Boston:

Dear Rear Admiral Gable,

We are writing to seek your assistance with an urgent request regarding the recent tragic loss of the Gloucester fishing vessel Patriot. In the wake of this incident, which claimed the lives of experienced fishermen Matteo Russo and Giovanni Orlando, thorough answers to many questions are necessary.

We are award that the Coast Guard has initiated an investigation into this incident, and that the First District and Sector Boston personnel are continuing to examine available information regarding all of the factors involved in the loss of the Patriot. We urge you to maintain and intensify this effort, and to expedite it as much as possible.

Yet we firmly believe that the information surrounding the loss must be significantly expanded to include the position, condition and all other pertinent facts available from examination of the Patriot in its present position. We thus request, in the strongest possible terms, that the Coast Guard undertake an underwater investigation of the vessel as soon as possible, utilizing either professional divers and/or submersible vehicles.

We are aware that this request is extraordinary, but yet this incident is as well. Thorough answers, to the extent possible must be developed to the haunting questions that remain.

Among those questions are how a sound vessel, with an experienced crew could so suddenly be lost in the sea and weather state that existed on Jan. 1 and 2. Understanding what led to the loss of the Patriot and Matteo Russo and Giovanni Orlando is critical, and conducting a subsurface investigation will yield answers that are vital for investigators, other Coast Guard personnel, the families of those who have been lost, those who must return to sea as fishermen, and the public.

Accordingly, please initiate such an investigation as soon as it may be undertaken. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and please do not hesitate to contact us if we may be of any further assistance, or to discuss this matter further.

State Sen. Bruce Tarr
State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante
Mayor Carolyn Kirk

Cc: Sen. Kennedy, Sen. Kerry, Rep. Tierney


Coast Guard reminds mariners to prepare, exercise caution in high surf

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard warns boaters and beach goers to exercise caution in all Hawaiian waters for the next few days due to potentially high winds and coastal area flooding.
The Coast Guard reminds all who work and play in island waters that conditions may be more dangerous during potentially high surf conditions.

In addition, marinas and boaters are reminded to check that boats in port are properly secured, bilge pumps are functional, and all loose items are removed from decks. Report any boats adrift, pollution or other maritime emergencies to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600 or to the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.

The National Weather Service — — has posted hazardous weather outlooks for the entire state of Hawaii to include gale force wind warnings, small craft advisories and high surf advisories. The boating public is strongly encouraged to pay close attention to local weather forecasts before leaving port.

Here are some tips for those who choose to go out on the water during the potentially heavy weather:

Leave a float plan with a responsible individual who knows your intentions, location and who they should call if you do not return as scheduled.

Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket and set the example for your passengers or paddling partners.

Carry a marine band VHF radio and/or other reliable means of communication.

Be prepared for the shock of sudden immersion and the disabling effects of cold water. Plan for the worst: dress as though you are going to get wet and be cold.

Maintain awareness on the water — be aware of activity around your vessel including changing weather, and always know your location.

Be responsible — know that alcohol and drugs cause accidents and sometimes death.

Don’t boat alone — boating alone is not recommended. Recreational paddlers canoeists and kayakers often travel with a single craft and one partner, or even solo, but it is recommended you canoe, kayak or boat with at least three people or two craft.

Know your limitations paddle — be honest with yourself and your companions. Your life and the lives of those in your party may depend on how everyone understands each other’s capabilities.

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