More on the temperature data...
I'm not predicting global cooling by any stretch...but how many cool months will it take before we start to forget about global warming?
Global warming sceptics are pointing to recent record cold temperatures in parts of North America and Asia and the return of Arctic Sea ice to suggest fears about climate change may be overblown.
According to the US National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the average temperature of the global land surface in January 2008 was below the 20th century mean (-0.02°F/-0.01°C) for the first time since 1982.
Temperatures were also colder than average across large swathes of central Asia, the Middle East, the western US, western Alaska and southeastern China.
The NCDC reported that the cold conditions were associated with "the largest January snow cover extent on record for the Eurasian continent and for the Northern Hemisphere".
In some parts of China and central Asia, snow fell for the first time in living memory, the NCDC noted.
"For the contiguous United States, the average temperature was 30.5°F (-0.83°C) for January, which was 0.3°F (0.2°C) below the 20th century mean and the 49th coolest January on record, based on preliminary data".