U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Vehicle Technologies Office
2008 Lands Among the Ten Warmest Years on Record for the Globe
January 21, 2009
Calendar year 2008 was somewhere in the range from the seventh to the tenth warmest year on record, according to the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS). The GISS actually finds 2008 to be the ninth warmest year, but it also notes that several close years fall within the range of scientific uncertainty, which is why it's difficult to say exactly where 2008 falls in the rankings. The range defined by GISS is convenient, because it embraces the different rankings found by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which says 2008 tied with 2001 as the eighth warmest year on record, and the United Kingdom's Met Office, which found 2008 to be the tenth warmest year on record. The climate monitoring groups do agree on one fact, however: the ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997. They also agree that a La Niña contributed to cooler global temperatures in 2008, relative to the previous several years. See the global temperature analyses from the GISS, the NCDC, and the Met Office.