February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 12, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1999
Feature of the Month: NOAAs Summary of 1998
the beginning of 1999, the National Weather Service looked back on 1998
and issued a press release summarizing the major weather and climate
events of one of the wildest weather years in recent times. The release
highlighted the following statistics:
Guide to Publishers
- Despite a severe drought that extended from the Southern Plains to
Florida during the spring and summer, 1998 was the wettest year since
1973 and the second wettest since 1895.
- It was the warmest year on record with the 2nd warmest winter on
record, 28th warmest spring, 9th warmest summer, and 2nd warmest autumn.
- One of the strongest El Niños on record caused winter storms
and floods from December 1997 to March 1998 that damaged property and
crops in California and were blamed for 17 deaths. California recorded
200 to 400% of normal precipitation. El Niño shifted
precipitation eastward across the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a Hawaiian
drought from autumn of 1997 to May of 1998 that produced just 16% of
normal rainfall, required water restrictions in several areas, and
diminished reservoir supplies.
- One of the worst ice storms on record struck southeast Canada and
northeast United States in January, causing extensive damage to trees
and power lines and taking 16 lives in the United States alone.
- The second mildest winter in 103 years saved consumers billions of
dollars in heating and snow-removal costs; winter temperatures averaged
more than 10oF above normal over the North-Central states.
- A wet, stormy spring broke rainfall records in the Midwest and
Northeast and damaged crops in California; April-June was the wettest
such period since at least 1895 in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the
third wettest in Tennessee, and the fourth wettest in Iowa.
- Severe storms spawned a tornado outbreak from the southeast to the
north-central states; 333 tornadoes were recorded in just June, about
150 more than average; the national death toll from tornadoes was about
three times the average.
- Spring and summer heat and drought caused massive wildfire outbreaks
in Florida and damage to crops from the Southern Plains to the
Southeast; April-June was the driest such period in 104 years of record
in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico; the total drought and heat
costs exceeded $6 billion and resulted in at least 200 deaths. The
drought extended into autumn from the mid-Atlantic to the Tennessee
Valley; Tennessee posted its second driest autumn in 104 years of
- Fourteen tropical storms and hurricanes developed in the Atlantic
basin during the 1998 season, and three hurricanes and four tropical
storms made landfall in the United States this year. Hurricane Mitch
alone caused an estimated 9000 deaths in Central America and brought
tornadoes, heavy rains, and flooding to southern Florida.
- Tropical storms and other wet-weather systems brought heavy rains to
Texas in the autumn, ending drought but causing at least 42 deaths from
- Early winter storms across the Great Plains set all-time
low-pressure readings in Iowa, 90-mph winds in Wisconsin, and 20-foot
waves on Lake Michigan.
- An unprecedented autumn heat wave from the Rockies to the East Coast
broke or tied more than 700 daily-high temperature records.
- Pacific storms produced 100-mph winds at the coast and
record-setting precipitation that triggered floods in Washington and
- Although the abnormal weather contributed to a 28% decrease in the
nations cotton crop and a 21% decrease in the orange crop compared
with 1997, adequate rainfall and lack of sustained heat in the Central
Plains and Midwest resulted in record soybean production, the second
largest corn production ever, and the largest wheat crop since 1990.
Index of Abbreviations