The global climate in 2000 was again influenced by the long-running Pacific cold episode (La Niña) that began in mid-1998. Consistent with past cold episodes, enhanced convection occurred across the climatologically convective regions of Indonesia and the western equatorial Pacific, while convection was suppressed in the central Pacific. The La Niña was also associated with a well-defined African easterly jet located north of its climatological mean position and low vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, both of which contributed to an active North Atlantic hurricane season. Precipitation patterns influenced by typical La Niña conditions included 1) above-average rainfall in southeastern Africa, 2) unusually heavy rainfall in northern and central regions of Australia, 3) enhanced precipitation in the tropical Indian Ocean and western tropical Pacific, 4) little rainfall in the central tropical Pacific, 5) below-normal precipitation over equatorial east Africa, and 6) drier-than-normal conditions along the Gulf coast of the United States.
Although no hurricanes made landfall in the United States in 2000, another active North Atlantic hurricane season featured 14 named storms, 8 of which became hurricanes, with 3 growing to major hurricane strength. All of the named storms over the North Atlantic formed during the August–October period with the first hurricane of the season, Hurricane Alberto, notable as the third-longest-lived tropical system since reliable records began in 1945. The primary human loss during the 2000 season occurred in Central America, where Hurricane Gordon killed 19 in Guatemala, and Hurricane Keith killed 19 in Belize and caused $200 million dollars of damage.
Other regional events included 1) record warm January–October temperatures followed by record cold November–December temperatures in the United States, 2) extreme drought and widespread wildfires in the southern and western Unites States, 3) continued long-term drought in the Hawaiian Islands throughout the year with record 24-h rainfall totals in November, 4) deadly storms and flooding in western Europe in October, 5) a summer heat wave and drought in southern Europe, 6) monsoon flooding in parts of Southeast Asia and India, 7) extreme winter conditions in Mongolia, 8) extreme long-term drought in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and 9) severe flooding in southern Africa.
Global mean temperatures remained much above average in 2000. The average land and ocean temperature was 0.39°C above the 1880–1999 long-term mean, continuing a trend to warmer-than-average temperatures that made the 1990s the warmest decade on record. While the persistence of La Niña conditions in 2000 was associated with somewhat cooler temperatures in the Tropics, temperatures in the extratropics remained near record levels. Land surface temperatures in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere were notably warmer than normal, with annually averaged anomalies greater than 2°C in parts of Alaska, Canada, Asia, and northern Europe.
*National Climatic Data Center, NOAA, Asheville, North Carolina.
+Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, Washington, D.C.
#International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York.
@Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado.
&National Climate Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia.
**Department of Geography, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
++Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office, Bracknell, United Kingdom.