2008: A Warm and Dry Year

Weather Summary for the Past Year

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Richard Ross
    A warm, dry year across North Texas

    The year 2008 was another very warm and dry one across North Texas. 

    Rainfall totalled 27.10" at DFW Airport.  That is more than seven and a half inches below the normal precipitation of 34.73."

    Of course, that is just the official total at DFW.  Rainfall was generally less than that, from Fort Worth westward.  And east of Dallas, the rainfall reports were more generous.  Here is a listing of annual rainfall totals for 2008 from a selection of locations across North Texas:

    Mineral Wells  20.15"     Aledo  29.97"     TCU  26.60"     Benbrook  29.97"     Meacham  27.27"     Arlington  26.10"      Denton  29.04"     DFW  27.10"     Coppell  32.44"     Lewisville  35.02"     Cedar Hill  36.19"     Ennis  32.77"     Garland  36.28"     Mesquite  37.77"      Terrell  34.44"     McKinney  41.15"     Wills Point  44.86"     Honey Grove  44.28"

    While rainfall was below normal at DFW, temperatures were much above normal.  In fact,  2008 turned out to be the second warmest year since records began way back in 1898.  The average mean temperature for the year was 68.7 degrees.  The only warmer year was 2006, with a mean temperature of 69.2 degrees.  The third and fourth warmest years are 1998 and 1999.  So, out of 110 years of records here in the Metroplex, the four warmest years have all occurred in the past decade. It is indeed getting warmer, here, and across much of the world.

    In addition, the temperatures have been above normal at DFW Airport for the past 17 consecutive months.

    It is true, however, that 2008's global temperatures were the coolest since 2000. The following quote is from NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies.  Click here for the entire article.

    "The meteorological year, December 2007 through November 2008, was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis of surface air temperature measurements. It was the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880. The nine warmest years all occur within the eleven-year period 1998-2008."

    Make sure you read the last two sentences of that quote, and not just the first one. The concept of global warming is not controversial. Everyone who looks at the data analytically agrees that it is occurring.

    The only possible controversy is in explaining why the warming is occurring. Some people believe that it is a naturally occurring climatic fluctuation. But the vast majority of climate scientists believe that much of the warming is induced by the 30%+ increase in carbon dioxide that has been measured since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

    I personally believe that it is probably a combination of the two. (Although that is just my opinion). But if the atmosphere is already warming naturally, then it seems to me to be a logical, and conservative position to suggest that we should do everything in our power not to exacerbate the warming.