U.S. forecasters claim this winter has been the warmest winter ever recorded in the northern hemisphere:
A record warm January helped push the average combined land and sea temperature worldwide to the highest level since record- keeping began in 1880, or 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 degree Celsius) more than the 20th century average of 53.8 degrees, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, said in a report.
The Climatic Data Center, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said land temperatures for the winter were the warmest on record, while the ocean-surface temperature tied for second-warmest in 128 years of observation. The average ocean-surface temperature was 0.1 degree Fahrenheit cooler than the record set during the 1997-1998 El Nino.
The 10 warmest winters globally have occurred in the past 12 years. The winter of 2006 ranked No. 9. The second-warmest was in 2004, said spokesman John Leslie. The third was in 1998, followed by 2002, then 1999, he said.