A Winter of Freaky Weather

A Winter of Freaky Weather
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A coating of snow turned parts of Jordan white in January, providing these men in the country's capital 'Amman a chance to throw snowballs.

The snow was also enjoyed in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, after winter storms blanketed much of the Middle East. Snow also fell on Iraq's war-torn capital Baghdad for the first time in living memory.

The unusually chilly weather rounded off a year during which climate scientists recorded an average drop of 1.15 degrees Fahrenheit (0.64 degree Celsius) in worldwide air temperature.

Even so, global warming skeptics such as Arizona State University climatologist Robert Balling aren't seizing on this weird season as proof that climate change isn't happening.

"I doubt the trend is statistically significant at this time," Balling said.

Fellow skeptic John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville said the global drop in temperature between January 2007 and January 2008 is most likely due to La Niña, a natural cooling event linked to lower sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

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—Photograph by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
 
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