The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says 2007 looks like it will have been one of the warmest years on record. This year's average annual temperature across the contiguous U.S. is expected to be 54.3 degrees, making the year the eighth warmest since records were begun in 1895, according to preliminary data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. U.S. temperatures were the second warmest in more than 100 years during March and August; only February and April were cooler than average.

Temperatures were also in near-record territory worldwide. The global surface temperature for 2007 is on pace to be the fifth warmest since those records were started in 1880.

NOAA will update its data in early January to reflect the last few weeks of December. Visit its Web site at www.noaa.gov.