This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 23, 2003

2003 Shaping Up as Third-Warmest Year on Record

With 2003 half over, the year is currently on track to be the third-warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For January through June, the global average surface temperature was 1.0 degree Fahrenheit (0.55 degrees Celsius) above the long-term mean. Since record keeping began in 1880, only the first six months of 2002 and 1998 were warmer. On a global scale, June 2003 is also the third-warmest June on record. See the analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Most of the United States was spared the hot temperatures in June. In fact, the eastern two-thirds of the nation was cooler than average in June, and the nation as a whole experienced its sixth coolest and seventh wettest June on record. The West proved the exception, with hotter-than-normal temperatures and continuing drought. See the NOAA press release and the NCDC Web site.

The below-normal temperatures for most of the United States have reduced the demand for electricity, allowing large injections of natural gas into underground storage and greatly increasing the prospects for sufficient U.S. natural gas supplies this winter. According to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of natural gas in storage remains 14 percent below the 5-year average for this time of year, but with current rates of injection into storage, the situation continues to improve. See the "Storage" section of EIA's Natural Gas Weekly Update from July 17th.