We're barely out of 2011, and already there's plenty of
discussion about last year's temperatures and how they fit with the
global warming trend.
Over the past few weeks, the major temperature datasets have
been giving their assessment of how temperatures behaved last year.
First up: the UK's Met Office, who released preliminary data
putting 2011 as the UK's
second warmest year on record - (remember that any one
year doesn't tell us much about the long term trend, as we pointed
out at the time, although lots of hot years together
Then the global temperature records starting coming, with the US
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
releasing their global stats for 2011. Their global temperature
dataset put 2011 as the
joint eleventh warmest year since records began in 1880.
They also highlighted that 2011
"...Marks the 35th consecutive year,
since 1976, that the yearly global temperature was above
average...Including 2011, all eleven years of the 21st century so
far (2001-2011) rank among the 13 warmest in the 132-year period of
record. Only one year during the 20th century, 1998, was warmer
Now it is the turn of the other major US global temperature
dataset, from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
They put 2011 as the ninth
warmest year on record, and also highlighted that
"The first 11 years of the 21st century
experienced notably higher temperatures compared to the middle and
late 20th century... The only year from the 20th century in the top
10 warmest years on record is 1998."