2004 was one of the warmest, wettest and most violent yearsin the history of weather forecasting. The National Oceanicand Atmospheric Administration report is based on data goingback to 1895.
As predicted in global warming models, Arctic temperaturesrose the most dramatically, with an approximate 1.8 degree Fincrease in Alaska above the 1971-2000 average. Alaska had arecord warm summer, with temperatures averaging 4.6 degreesF above average.
Had late summer not been cooler than average across much ofthe midwest, 2004 could have been a record high year.
As a result of increasing temperatures and higher thannormal amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere, it was arecord year for typhoons in the Pacific, and the US eastcoast was impacted by six hurricanes, including four whichstruck Florida, making it the only state since Texas in 1886to sustain four hurricane impacts in a single season.
The 2004 hurricane season was the most costly on the recordin the US, with an estimated $42 billion dollars in damage.
During the year, currents in both the north Pacific andnorth Atlantic showed signs of increasing instability, andthe Gulf Stream continued to weaken. However, there was noevidence that the kind of temperature spike and massiveoutflow of fresh water from melting polar ice that wouldspark a violent climate upheaval was immediately possible.
Nevertheless, according to aNASA study, theincrease in temperatures has caused a rapid thinning ofGreenland's glaciers, which will flood the northern northAtlantic with fresh water over the next few years.
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