This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
2001 Ranked as Second Warmest Year on Record
The year 2001 was the second warmest globally since record keeping began in 1880, according to data released in mid-January by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Only 1998 ranked higher, and temperatures that year were boosted by strong El Nino conditions. In contrast, 2001 began with weak La Nina conditions, which tend to depress global average temperatures. Temperatures in the United States were also above average; the year ranked as the sixth warmest since record keeping began in 1895. See the report on NOAA's National Climatic Data Center Web site.
Conditions appear ripe for 2002 to become a record- breaking year: according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the tropical Pacific Ocean is warming, a trend which could lead to an El Nino by early Spring. However, NOAA cautions that it is too early to predict the magnitude or duration of the anticipated El Nino. See the NOAA press release.