A weather expert says December 2005 is on pace to become one of the 10 coldest in more than 100 years, despite claims at a global conference on climate change this week that the Earth is getting warmer.

Joe Bastardi, senior meteorologist with Accuweather.com, says present weather patterns across the country show below-normal temperatures in the single digits, with still colder air forecast in the coming weeks.

All told, he said, “the current look and pace may bring December 2005 in as a top 10 month for cold Decembers nationwide since the late 1800s.”

Some examples of the abnormally cold temps include: Omaha, Neb., (17.5 degrees below normal); Indianapolis, Ind., (14.1 degrees below normal); Chicago, Ill., (13.9 degrees below normal); and Denver, Colo., (11.9 degrees below normal).

“The cold is widespread, with below-normal temperatures recorded from eastern Washington and Oregon south into Texas and into the Northeast,” said the weather service.

And it could get worse. Accuweather.com “is forecasting another week of unseasonably cold weather, with the potential for another major snowstorm developing on Wednesday.”

While the current weather pattern may be considered anecdotal by some, it is timely nonetheless, as it comes on the heels of a United-Nations-sponsored event in which most of the more than 150 nations participating claimed the world is getting warmer – a phenomenon most blamed on the United States.

Washington was the most frequent target of criticism over the course of the two-week summit in Montreal, Canada, where participants blamed the U.S. for being the world’s largest contributor of harmful atmospheric emissions some experts say are increasing, on average, global temperatures.

One such critic is former President Bill Clinton, who called the Bush administration “flat wrong” for saying enforcement of a global emissions-reduction treaty – the so-called Kyoto Protocols, after the city in Japan where they were negotiated – would harm the U.S. economy.

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Clinton said global warming has been proven by mounting evidence of melting ice caps, retreating glaciers and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

“We are uncertain about how deep and the time of arrival of the consequences, but we are quite clear that they will not be good,” he said in a speech that reportedly upset U.S. delegates to the conference.

Others aren’t so sure.

State climatologist George Taylor of Oregon told the Washington Post recent data suggesting the Earth could warm from 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 are “mighty preliminary.”

“I just don’t trust it,” he said.


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