photo: Maxim Trudolubov/Creative Commons
All last year the data coming in, month by month, indicated that this was probably going to be the case: NOAA has just announced that 2010 has tied with 2005 as the hottest year since records began in 1880, with the combined global land and ocean surface temperature running 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average. 2010 was the 34th consecutive year where global temperatures were above the 20th century average. in the US, last year was the 23rd consecutive year where national average temperatures were above average--for the contiguous US, it was the 14th year with above average temperatures.
Unpacking the new NOAA stats some more:
When you just look at land temperatures, 2010 was 1°C above the 20th century average. Ocean temperatures were 0.49°C above the average for the same period; taken alone 2010 tied with 2005 as the third warmest year for oceans.
Though there was high regional variability, globally, 2010 was also the wettest year on record. In the contiguous US, precipitation was 1.02" above the long-term average.
For Arctic sea ice, even though the annual maximum extant occurred at a record late date, on March 31, sea ice melted back so much that 2010 saw the third lowest minimum on record. The top two record minimums occurred in 2007 and 2008.
Read more: NOAA
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More on Global Climate Change:
2010 So Far Has been Hottest Year on Record: NOAA
NASA: Jan-July Hottest on Record, 2010 Shaping Up to be Warmest Year Yet
NASA Makes It Official: 2000-2009 Was Hottest Decade on Record
Pakistan Now Holds Record For "Hottest Reliably Measured" Temperature in Asia