- The White House is releasing figures
Monday that confirm July was the hottest month the planet has seen since
reliable record-keeping began more than a century ago: something many in
the sun-baked Southwest may already suspect, the Washington Post reports.
- The average global temperature last month
was 61.7 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1.26 degrees above normal for July and
nearly half a degree higher than the previous record, set in July 1997,
according to a newly completed analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
- July is now the seventh consecutive month
in which global temperatures broke the previous record for the period --
a trend the White House has cited repeatedly in pressing for action to
curb global warming, according to Monday's Post.
- "There's already an overwhelming
scientific consensus that human activity is influencing the climate,"
says an administration source, asked to comment on the new temperature
data. "Month after month, we're accumulating even more evidence."
- The new global statistics are based on
land and ocean temperature data collected at monitoring stations around
- The land-based measurements show a sharp
increase in warming in the last 15 years, with many of the hottest years
on record occurring in the 1990s. Indeed, when measured against temperature
records gleaned from tree rings and glaciers, the decade's weather appears
even more remarkable, scientists say.
- "We know that the 1990s are the
warmest decade in 600 years," says Thomas Karl of NOAA's National
Climactic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. "And it is quite likely that
1998 will be the warmest year in the last 600 years."
- Vice President Gore is scheduled to announce
the new numbers today.
- Temperatures in central Texas soared
past 100 degrees again yesterday in a brief reprise of the summer hot spell
that has killed at least 124 people.
- Other records have shown a slight increase
in global temperatures -- about 1 degree Fahrenheit -- over the past century,
a rise many scientists say may have been partly caused by a build-up of
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion.
- Other scientists remain skeptical, attributing
the warming to normal fluctuations in climate and other natural factors.