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Global Warming Climate Data Shows Polar Vortex, Pacific Heat In 4th Warmest Year On Record

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- January is off to a balmy start with record-breaking or near record-breaking temperatures forecast Monday in the Bay Area, topping off what is now known to be the 4th warmest year since satellite records have been kept.

The climate research hints at the strange hot-cold conditions that plunged the eastern U.S. into a weeks-long Polar Vortex cold snap, and kept the Bay Area basking in sunlight.

In December, the northeastern Pacific Ocean, which affects Northern California's weather, was 8.8 degrees above seasonal norm while central Canada's Manitoba was 9.7 degrees cooler than average, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Oakland's 68 degrees today, or 66 degrees in San Jose and San Francisco  may feel comfortable, but data shows average temperatures indexing up to a new normal.

NASA, NOAA, and University of Alabama Huntsville report December was 0.49 degrees Fahrenheit above the 30-year average.

Last year was fourth warmest in the satellite era, cooler only than 1998, 2010, and 2005.  The North Pacific and Antarctic were warmest last year, averaging more than 2.5 degrees above normal.

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