The warming trend continues. Average global surface temperatures last year were almost identical to those in 1999, which makes 2000 one of the six hottest years in the past 120. At press time, the year was also on target to be one of the 10 wettest on record, says Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
Outside the tropics, temperatures last year were notably above average. At latitudes above 20 degrees N, the period from December 1999 to November 2000 was the second warmest on record, Karl notes. Widespread areas across Canada, Scandinavia, and much of Eastern Europe, for example, experienced annual average temperatures more than 2 degrees F above normal.