For four days last week, the daily temperatures outside the Internet Scout Project office here in Wisconsin soared above 60 F (and on one day, above 75 F), and the lakes that surround Madison melted in one fell swoop, bringing winter to a lurching halt and restless thoughts of summer to the forefront. While such local temperature anomalies are not surprising (nor did other cities experience the same highs), in this case, they fit in with a global trend that continues to raise -- in some cases, anxious -- eyebrows. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that this winter is the warmest on record. Surpassing recent warm winter records of 1997-1998, the winter of 1999-2000 has now clinched the somewhat dubious title of warmest winter in history. This news release comes on the coat tails of a January report from the National Academy of Sciences confirming what is already accepted among most scientists -- that global warming is real (see the January 14, 2000 Scout Report
). For news and information on this warmest of winters, this week's In The News features seven sites, listed above.
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