September Keeps All-Time Record-Setting Worldwide
Hot Streak Alive
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The world is on a hot streak, literally. Last month was the hottest September on record, government climate experts reported Wednesday. That makes it nine months of record heat in a row.
The continuing warm readings add fuel to the debate over global warming. Many scientists and others are concerned that chemicals added to the atmosphere may be warming the planet somewhat like the glass heats a greenhouse. Others remain doubtful, however, noting the regular cycles of climate change over past years and pointing out that accurate temperature records go back only about a century.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the average worldwide temperature for the month was 59.98 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.08 degree above the 1880-1997 global average of 58.9 degrees.
"The recent string of unusually high global average temperatures could be a sign of accelerated global warming," said Thomas Karl, director of the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. "However, these records will not continue indefinitely because of the impacts of normal climate variability."
The recent warm months have also been blamed on the heating of the Pacific Ocean in the El Nino phenomenon, but that is now easing, the NOAA reported.
The climate center also reported that average temperatures in the contiguous United States beat the record heat during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
Preliminary data indicate that September had a national average temperature of 69.1 degrees Fahrenheit, surpassing the previous record of 68.4 degrees, set in September 1931. The 1961-1990 normal temperature for the United States during September is 64.8 degrees.