This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
2004 is Fourth Warmest Year on Record
On a global scale, 2004 was the fourth warmest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2004, the average global temperature was 0.97 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average established since record keeping began in 1880. The mean temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was the second warmest on record, while the Southern Hemisphere experienced its sixth warmest mean temperature on record.
Last year fell just behind 2003 and 2002, which tied for the second-warmest year on record at 1.01 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average. The warmest year on record was 1998, at 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average, in part because a significant El Nino event occurred that year. See the Climate of 2004 Annual Review from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.