NOAA: The planet has a fever, and the U.S. had another record hurricane and tornado season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual climate report tells the warming tale:

  • “For November alone, the month is fourth warmest all-time globally.” This comes on the heels of last month’s report of the second warmest October on record. Since the deniers have become overly fond of 60-day trend lines (see here), one can safely conclude they will be reporting that the earth is a over-heating again.
  • “The global land surface temperature for 2008 was the fifth warmest, with an average temperature 1.44 degrees F (0.80 degree C) above the 20th century mean of 48.1 degrees F (9.0 degrees C).” Looking at the land data alone is one way to factor out the cooling impact of the La Ni±a that gripped the Pacific in the first half of the year.

And the United States saw another record-breaking year for extreme storms:

  • The United States recorded a preliminary total of just under 1,700 tornadoes from January — November. This ranks 2008 second behind 2004 for the most tornadoes in a year, since reliable records began in 1953.
  • The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was the third most costly on record in current dollars, after 2005 and 2004, and the fourth most active year since 1944. This was the first season with a major hurricane (Category 3 or above) each month from July through November.

Whatever year-to-year fluctuations there may be, the bottom line is the weather is getting hotter and more extreme, just as the science predicted it would.

UPDATE: Not everybody thinks the tornado data is reliable enough to draw any conclusions from, see this post by NYT’s Andy Revkin.

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