2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, according to data released today by the National Climatic Data Center. Records began in 1880. The Earth's temperature was 1.12 degrees F above the 20th-century average, which was the same as 2005.
It was the 34th-consecutive year that the global temperature were above average, according to the data center. The last below-average year was 1976.
The global land surface temperatures for 2010 were the warmest on record at 1.8 F above the 20th-century average.
Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred for most of the world's surface. The warmest temperatures occurred throughout the high-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Canada, Alaska, the tropical Atlantic Ocean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and northern Africa.
Nine of the Earth's 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, and all 12 of the warmest years have occurred since 1997.
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The global average surface temperature has risen more than 1 degree since the start of the 20th century. Most notable, within the past three decades, the rate of warming in global temperatures has been approximately three times greater than the century scale trend.
In a separate global temperature report released last week, 2010 finished in a photo finish with 1998 for the warmest year in the 32-year satellite temperature record, according to John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
According to Christy, 2010 was only 0.02 degree F cooler than 1998, an amount that is not statistically significant.
The satellite data shows that the globe continues to warm unevenly, with warming increasing as you go north: The Arctic Ocean has warmed an average of almost 3 degrees in the past 32 years.
For the contiguous USA alone, the climate center reports that the 2010 average annual temperature was above normal, resulting in the 23rd warmest year on record.