Last year was the 7th 8th or 9th warmest year ever recorded depending on whose data set you look at. 2008 was not the coolest year of the century, that was 2000. The last ten years by far represent the warmest decade in history and this period does not include 1998, the warmest year ever recorded (because of a large El Nino). The southern oscillation was predominantly negative last year (La Nina) which has an effect on global temperature and 2008 was also the minimum for the 22 year solar sunspot cycle. This is the biggest solar cycle minimum seen in some time. There is a general consensus that we will break the 1998 record within a decade, likely within the first Obama administration. We could only hope that this year was a part of a global cooling trend. CO2 levels have increased to greater than predicted in the worse case scenarios of the IPCC. Enjoy the cool weather.