2010 tied for warmest year globally

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  • 2010 tied for warmest year globally
    13.01.2011 11:26

     

    The preliminary figures are in, and 2010 has at least tied for the warmest year on record globally.

    This is according to summaries issued today in the USA by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

    It might come as a surprise to those of us in the UK who shivered through the coldest December in 120 years and a drab late summer - but it should not.

    The UK comprises a tiny fraction of the globe, and although other regions also had temperatures below the mean, including Siberia, Scandinavia and the western USA, a far greater portion of the globe was warmer than average. 

    Russia, the Near East and Africa were all anomalously hot, especially during a record-breaking summer. The Arctic had temperatures well above average, and the highest warm anomalies for the year were in western Greenland and northeast Canada, up to five degrees above average.

    It is arguable whether it is 1998 or 2005 that holds the record for warmest year globally but the difference is so minuscule as to make no practical difference.

    GISS and NOAA both held 2005 as the warmest, with 2010 equalling it. In fact, by a few hundreths of a degree 2010 is slightly higher but it is a statistical tie.

    Global temperatures dropped quite sharply in December as the cooling effects of last year's strong La NiƱa kicked in. Although that phenomenon is now weakening it is likely to cast its shadow over 2011 for a while, so it is unlikely to be as warm a year.

    After 2010, 2005 and 1998, the next warmest years globally since the start of GISS records in 1880 are 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007.

     

    By: Stephen Davenport