January 12, 2011

2010 Ties 2005 As Warmest Year On Record

U.S. government scientists said in a report on Wednesday that the year 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record for global surface temperatures.

NOAA report that the Earth in 2010 experienced temperatures higher than the 20th century average for the 34th year in a row.

It said that 2010 and 2005 were 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average when taking a combination of land and water surface temperatures.

Those two years were also the highest in temperature since record-keeping began in 1880.

NOAA said last year was also the wettest on record, citing Global Historical Climatology Network as a source to the information. 

The Pacific Ocean saw the fewest number of hurricanes and named storms, three and seven respectively, since the 1960s.

However, the Atlantic Ocean had 12 hurricanes and 19 named storms, marking the second highest number of hurricanes on record and third highest for storms.

The analysis also tracked weather changes that contributed to massive flood in Pakistan and a heat wave in Russia, saying an "unusually strong jet stream" from June to August was the reason.

"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," it said.

Expert Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science said that the U.S. data shows proof of climate change.

"These new figures show unequivocally that the Earth is warming and its temperature is at record levels," Ward said in a statement.

Last year's data "also showed that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had reached 390 parts per million, its highest level for at least 800,000 years and almost 40 per cent higher than the level before the start of the Industrial Revolution when humans started to burn fossil fuels in increasing amounts," he said.

"The evidence is overwhelming that human activities are driving climate change."

NOAA said that 2010 marked the 14th year in a row with higher annual average temperatures when compared to the long term average since 1895.

The agency said in its statement that record snowfalls at the start of the year in the northeast including Washington and Philadelphia were part of a winter pattern driven by El Nino and the Arctic Oscillation.

Canada's Environment Ministry said in a separate report that last year was the warmest in Canada since it began keeping meteorological records 63 years ago.

The ministry said that Canada's second warmest year was 1998, when temperatures were 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal.

International studies published on Sunday warned that global warming could wipe out three-quarters of Europe's alpine glaciers by 2100 and hike sea levels by 13 feet by the year 3000 through melting the West Antarctic ice sheet.


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