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2010 Tied For Warmest Year on Record: NOAA

Posted by feww on January 13, 2011

2010 joint warmest and  wettest year on record

Last year tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record for global surface temperature

  • The 2010 global land surface temperature were 0.96ºC (1.73º F) above the 20th century average.
  • Global ocean surface temperatures in 2010 tied with 2005 as the third warmest at 0.49ºC (0.88ºF ) above the 20th century average.
  • 2010 was also the wettest year on record, compared to global average precipitation.

Highlights from NASA Climate Section:

  • September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 11.5 percent per decade, relative to the 1979 to 2000 average. The September 2010 extent was the third lowest in the satellite record.
  • As of December 10, 2010, the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were 391 ppm.
  • Data from NASA’s Grace satellite show that the land ice sheets in both Anarctica and Greenland are losing mass. The continent of Antarctica (left chart) has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002.
  • Sea levels have risen by 53mm since 1993, and by 100 to 200mm since the past century. Sea rise is caused by the thermal expansion of sea water due to climate warming and widespread melting of land ice.

“2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, beginning in 1880. This was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average. For the contiguous United States alone, the 2010 average annual temperature was above normal, resulting in the 23rd warmest year on record,” NOAA researchers say.

The following is mirrored from NOAA website:

2010 Global Climate Highlights

Global surface temperature anomalies for 2010. Click image to enlarge.

  • 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 range of confidence (to the 95 percent level) associated with the combined surface temperature is +/- 0.13 F (+/- 0.07 C).*
  • The global land surface temperatures for 2010 were tied for the second warmest on record at 1.73 F (0.96 C) above the 20th century average. The range of confidence associated with the land surface temperature is +/- 0.20 F (+/- 0.11 C).
  • Global ocean surface temperatures for 2010 tied with 2005 as the third warmest on record, at 0.88 F (0.49 C) above the 20th century average. The range of confidence associated with the ocean surface temperature is +/- 0.11 F (+/- 0.06 C).
  • In 2010 there was a dramatic shift in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which influences global temperature and precipitation patterns — when a moderate-to-strong El Niño transitioned to La Niña conditions by July. At the end of November, La Niña was moderate-to-strong.
  • According to the Global Historical Climatology Network, 2010 was the wettest year on record, in terms of global average precipitation. As with any year, precipitation patterns were highly variable from region to region.
  • The 2010 Pacific hurricane season had seven named storms and three hurricanes, the fewest on record since the mid-1960s when scientists started using satellite observations. By contrast, the Atlantic season was extremely active, with 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes. The year tied for third- and second-most storms and hurricanes on record, respectively.
  • The Arctic sea ice extent had a record long growing season, with the annual maximum occurring at the latest date, March 31, since records began in 1979. Despite the shorter-than-normal melting season, the Arctic still reached its third smallest annual sea ice minimum on record behind 2007 and 2008. The Antarctic sea ice extent reached its eighth smallest annual maximum extent in March, while in September, the Antarctic sea ice rapidly expanded to its third largest extent on record.
  • A negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) in January and February helped usher in very cold Arctic air to much of the Northern Hemisphere. Record cold and major snowstorms with heavy accumulations occurred across much of eastern North America, Europe and Asia. The February AO index reached -4.266, the largest negative anomaly since records began in 1950.
  • From mid-June to mid-August, an unusually strong jet stream shifted northward of western Russia while plunging southward into Pakistan. The jet stream remained locked in place for weeks, bringing an unprecedented two-month heat wave to Russia and contributing to devastating floods in Pakistan at the end of July.

2010 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map. Source: NOAA

Top 10 Climate Anomalies in 2010
1.    Russian – European – Asian Heat Waves     (Summer)
2.    2010 as [near] warmest year on record     (calendar year)
3.    Pakistani Flooding     (Late July – August)
4.    El Niño to La Niña Transition     (Mid-to-Late Boreal Spring)
5.    Negative Arctic Oscillation     (Early 2010 )
6.    Brazilian Drought     (Ongoing)
7-tie.     Historically Inactive NE Pacific Hurricane Season     (May 15 – Nov 30)
7-tie.     Historic N. Hemispheric Snow Retreat     (January – June )
9.    Minimum Sea Ice Extent     (mid-September)
10.    China Drought    (First Half of 2010)

Contenders for the Top 10 List

  • China Floods     (Early Aug)
  • Large Iceberg Breaks off Petermann Glacier    (5-Aug)
  • Igor & Julia Simultaneous Category 4 Hurricanes     (15-Sep)
  • Super Typhoon Megi     (Oct 12-24 )
  • Coral Reef Bleaching     (NH Spring -Summer)
  • Cyclone Phet     (Early June)
  • Bangladesh Driest Monsoon Season since 1994     (Warm Season)
  • Hurricane Celia     (Jun 19-28)
  • Summer Snow in Australia     (18-Jan)
  • Atlantic Cyclone Xynthia     (27-Feb)
  • European Cold Snap & Winter Storm     (Early Jan)
  • South American Cold Snap     (July)
  • Extreme Winter Weather in Europe**     (Most of December)
  • Australian Flooding**     (25-Dec)

** This event occurred after the top ten voting, but may have warranted top ten placement.

Click image to enlarge. (Source: NOAA)

See Also:

State of the Climate Global Hazards

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Hazards for November 2010, published online December 2010, retrieved on January 10, 2011 from

Related Links:

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