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January 2010 warmest on record. Yes really!

Paul Hudson | 22:11 UK time, Thursday, 4 February 2010

It may come as a surprise to many of you, shivering through the coldest British winter for decades, but data released this evening shows that global temperatures, as measured by satellites, rocketed in January to a new record.

The global-average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly rose to +0.72 deg. C in January 2010 on the UAH satellite measure. This is the warmest January in the 32-year satellite-based data record.

The global-average warmth is approaching the warmth reached during the 1997-98 El Nino, which peaked in February of 1998. 1998 on most measures was the hottest year on record.

This measure is important to sceptics who question the validity of land based measurements, which, they say, may be compromised to some extent by the urban heat island effect. The UAH satellite data has shown some warming since it began measurements in the late 1970's - but not as much as land based thermometers show. These satellite measurements are not calibrated to surface thermometer data in any way.

Of interest was the Northern hemisphere which rose sharply on this measure from December's levels - and gives a graphic illustration that despite many populated areas of the northern Hemisphere experiencing a cold winter - other areas were much warmer than average. The ongoing Pacific El Nino added warmth as expected to tropical areas, but it was the Northern Hemisphere which recorded the sharpest rise.

It's also an indication of the importance of the oceans - which were much warmer than average - far outweighing any land based cold.

Global temperatures as measured by the Met Office Hadley Centre, NOAA and NASA are also likely to have shown a large warm anomaly.

Details of the various forecasts for 2010 global temperatures can be found by clicking here.

It's early days but it's definately first blood to NASA, The Met Office Hadley Centre and others in forecasting 2010 to be the warmest year on record.

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