2010 Ties for Warmest Year on Record

Every January, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center provides an expert analysis of the previous year’s climate. This puts the extreme weather of 2010 into a broader context. The record warmth of the past year adds to the huge body of evidence that the earth continues to warm.

Here are some of NOAA’s key finding:

Global average temperature

  • 2010 is tied with 2005 as the warmest year since 1880 when NOAA’s records begin. The temperature was 1.1°F above the 20th century average.
  • The Northern Hemisphere was the warmest on record while the Southern Hemisphere was the 6th warmest since 1880.
  • 9 out of the 10 warmest years on record are from 2001 and after.
  • Every year since 2000 is one of the 15 warmest years.
  • It is the 34th consecutive year that was warmer than the 20th century average.
  • NOAA scientist David Easterling said that the top ranking of 2010 reinforces the conclusion that the climate is continuing to warm because of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

10 Warmest Years on Record

Ranking

Year

°F above 20th Century Average

1

2010

1.12

1

2005

1.12

3

1998

1.08

5

2003

1.04

5

2002

1.04

7

2009

1.01

7

2006

1.01

8

2007

0.99

9

2004

0.97

10

2001

0.94

 
Other observations
  • Global snow cover was the lowest on record
  • Arctic sea ice reached its third-smallest summer minimum
  • In the United States, both land surface temperature and amount of rainfall were in the top third since 1880.
  • Although the eastern U.S. is having a cold winter, Canada and the Arctic are unusually warm, maintaining a globally warm condition.

Read more from NOAA: 

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110112_globalstats.html

Jay Gulledge is Senior Scientist and Director of the Science and Impacts Program