noaa-wild-weather-2007Maps posted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) show that 2007 will almost certainly be among the top ten warmest years on record (when the last few days of December are tallied), and one of the most erratic, dousing parts of the United States in record rains, parching sections right next door, kicking up forest fires and otherwise acting like Mother Nature under duress.

You might conclude this was more evidence of global warming. Don’t want to think of it that way? Then it was just crazy weather, courtesy of the normal fluctuation of things.

But before you get too far down that path, consider this sobering little tidbit from the NOAA press release:

“Including 2007, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997. The global average surface temperature has risen between 0.6°C and 0.7°C since the start of the twentieth century, and the rate of increase since 1976 has been approximately three times faster than the century-scale trend.”

Talk about chilling. (Oh, and Happy New Year!)