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NOAA says 2013 was fourth warmest year on record

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2013 has tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year on record since 1880, when records began. The global combined temperature of the land and ocean averaged 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This makes 2013 the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) to be hotter than average.

Of the ten warmest years on record, nine were in the 21st century. The one year from the 20th century, 1998, also has the distinction of being the third warmest year on record. The global average land temperature for 2013 was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average of 8.5°C (47.3°F), while the global average ocean temperature was 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 20th century average of 16.1°C (60.9°F).

As might be guessed, most of the world had higher than normal temperatures, especially Australia, which had its hottest year ever. Other places with record high temperatures included parts of central Asia, western Ethiopia, eastern Tanzania, and parts of the Arctic Ocean. By contrast, no area had record cold temperatures, although parts of the United States were cooler than normal. The U.S. had its coolest spring since 1996, which was also its first cooler-than-average season since winter 2010/11.

The Arctic Oscillation strongly influenced weather patterns during the early part of 2013, resulting in cool springs in much of Europe, the southeastern U.S., northwestern Russia, and parts of Japan. Ironically, the Arctic itself was warmer than average. China, southern Russia, parts of Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean also had warmer-than-usual springs.

Argentina had its second warmest year ever, with only 2012 being hotter. All of its five hottest years have taken place since 2006. Finland had its fifth warmest year on record, while Russia had its sixth warmest year. Russia's records go all the way back to 1891, and it experienced the warmest November and December ever. In November, temperatures soared above the 1961-1990 average by 5.3°C (9.5°F), and in December, they were 4.6°C (8.3°F) above the average.

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