李奧尼翰森是前Liberty Tree Alliance網站的氣象專欄作家。她曾為環境保護基金共同創刊The Way Things Really Are : Debunking Rush Limbaugh on the Environment；同時她也在美國環境計畫中擔任氣候變動問答的主編
February 2000 was the fourth warmest February in the historical record, while March 2000 was the eighth warmest March, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that the U.S. has just experienced its warmest January-March period ever. What else? The agency's latest data also show that June 1999-March 2000 was the warmest June-March period to occur in its 106 years of record keeping.
NOAA notes that higher than normal land surface temperatures covered almost all of North America and Europe during February, with half of the United States much warmer than normal and less than 1 percent of the country much cooler than normal. The largest anamolies were recorded in Alaska, with temperatures averaging more than 5 degrees Celsius above the norm in many locations. (On the other hand, ocean temperatures throughout the world were just 0.28 degrees Celsius above average.)
In news of abnormal weather events, February and March brought devastating rains and floods to the southeastern portion of the African continent. Most of the flood victims were in central and southern Mozambique. Parts of Zimbabwe and Botswana were also devastated, with more than a million people affected overall.
In Canada, forest fires started earlier than usual this year, a trend some climate experts attribute to global warming. As of the first week in April, there were already 11 major forest fires burning in northwestern Ontario, and severe grass fires reported in western Canada. Seven of the nation's worst fire seasons have taken place in the last decade (CBC News, 04.06.00).
And finally, NOAA's website notes that a tornado that hit Milwaukee County, Wis., on March 8 set a record for the earliest beginning of the tornado season in the area since record keeping began in 1840.
Leonie Haimson was the climate columnist for the former Liberty Tree Alliance website. She co-authored The Way Things Really Are: Debunking Rush Limbaugh on the Environment for the Environmental Defense Fund, and edited Common Questions on Climate Change for the U.N. Environment Program.