NOAA scientists say near-record U.S. temps in 2006 due to climate change

Scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday that the near-record annual average temperature in the Lower 48 states in 2006 was due to greenhouse gases and not to the weather phenomenon El Nino. By perusing weather records the researchers, whose study will appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that El Nino actually tended to have an overall cooling effect on the U.S. To find what was causing the warming, scientists then ran over 40 computer simulations to test various atmospheric conditions’ effects on U.S. temps, finally concluding that the “2006 warmth was primarily due to human influences,” aka human-driven climate change. 2006 was about 2 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average in the Lower 48 states. And because we know you’re wondering, at least as of deadline, the NOAA is still part of the Bush administration.