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Climate scientists have shown that 1999 was the fifth warmest year in the record of global surface air temperature observations stretching back to 1860.

Global surface air temperature, annual values as departures from the 1961-90 mean and filtered curve.

Temperatures did drop through 1999. According to David Parker of the UK Met. Office, “the rapid cooling of temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, the so-called La Niña, has contributed to 1999 being significantly cooler than 1998, the hottest year on record. Our forecast for 2000 shows a high probability of it being warmer than 1999, as the cold Pacific slowly warms again naturally.”

Despite the cooling, most parts of the world experienced above-normal temperatures during 1999. The year proved the warmest in the 341-year long Central England temperature record. In June and July, parts of Russia experienced the most intense heat wave of the century.

Seven of the top ten warmest years in the record have occurred during the 1990s, making the decade as a whole the warmest since the 1860s, In fact, according to Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, “analysis of tree rings, ice cores, corals and historical records from around the world indicates that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium.”

On the Web

Climate Monitor Online provides regular global temperature updates.

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