2010 wettest year, tied for hottest - NOAA

  • 12 Jan 2011, 10:54
  • Christian


2010 temperature anomaly plot - although Europe experienced a cold winter, this had limited significance on the global scale. (NOAA)

The world has just witnessed the joint hottest year on record in terms of surface temperatures, according to data released today by the National Climatic Data Center in the United States.

The combined land and ocean temperature tied with 2005 as the warmest ever recorded with temperatures 1.12 degrees F above the average for the last century.

"The global land surface temperatures for 2010 were the warmest on record at 1.80 F (1.00 C) above the 20th century average," according to the NCDC, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US Department of Commerce.

"Combined global land and ocean annual surface temperatures for 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest such period on record at 1.12 F (0.62 C) above the 20th century average," the report adds. The results show temperatures have now been above the 20th century average for 34 years in a row.

The records are consistent with evidence that the release of carbon dioxide through burning fossil fuels is causing global warming.

The announcement also appears to confirm predictions by the Met Office in the United Kingdom a year ago that 2010 would be the warmest or second warmest on record.

A statement from the Met Office from December 2009 said:

The latest forecast from our climate scientists, shows the global temperature is forecast to be almost 0.6 °C above the 1961-90 long-term average. This means that it is more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record…

The Met Office was criticised for making the prediction last month when Britain experienced the coldest December for a century. However, the low temperatures in Europe in the final month of the year were not enough to bring the global annual average down to previous temperatures.

The NCDC report also quotes the Global Historical Climatology Network finding that 2010 was the wettest year on record. The Atlantic experienced 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes - the third greatest number of storms on record and the second greatest number of hurricanes. In contrast, the 2010 Pacific had the fewest named storms and hurricanes on record.

Arctic sea ice also reached the third lowest level of summer sea ice on record in 2010, with only 2007 and 2008 seeing less ice.

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