February 08, 2006
|Record Warmth In US||Environment Peak Oil|
There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the US has had a very unusually warm winter. Otherwise, natural gas and heating oil prices would have risen far more than they have, with significant economic consequences.
How warm has it been? January was the warmest January ever recorded in the US. National average temperature was 39.5°F (4.2°C), a rather startling 8.5°F (4.7°C) warmer than average.
The past three months were the third warmest November-January on record, 3.8°F (2.1°C) warmer than average.
The past six months were the warmest August-January ever recorded in the US, 2.8°F (1.6°C) warmer than average.
So the good news is that the US dodged a bullet this winter. The (post-Katrina) natural gas situation, in particular, would have been very dicey if the winter had just been normal, let alone colder than normal.
The bad news, of course, is that these record temperatures didn't occur in a vacuum. The world is changing, and the pace of change is quickening.