2010 was hottest year on record
Published 03/12/2010 | 15:24
It might be hard to believe with the snow falling outside but 2010 was globally the hottest year on record, according to the Met Office.
Despite the coldest start to the year for 30 years and the recent freeze, the world as a whole has been 0.52C warmer than the 30 year average of 14C.
The national weather service said it was equal with 1998, when an El Nino in the Pacific made the world warmer.
This time the weather pattern in the southern oceans has actually cooled the world, meaning the high temperatures are more likely than ever to be as a result of man made global warming.
The cooling pattern known as La Nina will increase into next year making it slightly cooler than recent years.
But again, because the level of global warming is so high, 2011 is still expected to be warmer than average.
The provisional figures, released at the latest United Nations climate change talks in Cancun, are backed up by the US national weather service and Nasa.
The Met Office figures estimate 2010 has been 0.52C hotter than the 14C average from 1961 to 1990. Only 1998 was this hot followed by 2005.
The World Meteorological Organisation said the world was 0.55C hotter in 2010, making it the hottest year since records began in 1850, although there are regional variations. The UK has had its coldest year since 2010. The fastest warming has been in the Arctic, Africa and Southern Asia, while northern Europe, America and Asia have all had cooler years.
The last decade has been on average 0.46C hotter, with most years in the top ten hottest year.
However next year is expected to be just 0.44C hotter.
Dr Adam Scaife, head of long range forecasting at the Met Office, said the predictions are usually correct within 0.06C.
He said they show the world is warming and could jump up even more if there is another strong El Nino.
“The three leading global temperature datasets show that, so far, 2010 is clearly warmer than 2009. This is despite El Niño declining and being replaced by a very strong La Niña, which has a cooling effect.”
Dr Vicky Pope, the Met Office’s head of climate science advice, explained that the cold weather is compatible with the warming pattern as regions of the world can experience different weather patterns.
She said the overall pattern is still warmer winters.
“Our annual prediction of global temperatures for the next year combined with our monitoring of the observed climate helps people to put the world’s current climate into context," she said.