Gore Blames Global Warming for Heat
Associated Press, July 14, 1998; 7:57 p.m. EDT
The temperature data tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that near-surface temperatures for June over both land and water were at an all-time high. Records for each month also were eclipsed in the previous five months. "There is no time in recorded data history that we have seen this sequence of record-setting for six consecutive months," said NOAA Administrator James Baker, calling the findings "remarkable and sobering." Tom Karl, NOAA's senior climate researcher, said the monthly data - along with other evidence, including the fact that 1997 was the warmest year on record -- provide "compelling evidence" that global temperatures are on a long-term warming track.
Temperatures in June were the highest recorded for the month in more than 100 years of record keeping, averaging 1 degree Fahrenheit above the long-term mean temperature dating back to 1880, officials said. Temperatures over land were even more dramatic -- 1.75 degrees higher than the long-term mean, exceeding the old record by several tenths of a degree. Even with a cooling of the central Pacific Ocean because of the end of El Nino, "we still have the warmest global temperatures on record," said Karl. "That is extremely remarkable."
Global warming skeptics have criticized the use of the ground temperature data and pointed to satellite findings that have shown temperatures 5,000 to 30,000 feet above Earth have changed little over the past 20 years -- showing perhaps even a slight cooling. But the latest data, as well as the recent frequency of unusually severe storms and drought, were enough to further convince Gore, the administration's most vigorous voice on the need to address climate change. "It is so incredibly unusual to have six months in a row and every single one of those months sets an all-time new record for being the highest month ever," said Gore. "You can see quite clearly the long-term warming trend."