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Met Office: 2010 Globally second warmest on record

Paul Hudson | 17:28 UK time, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Last week, researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, where temperature records extend back to 1880, announced that global surface temperatures in 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest on record.

This was similar to data released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which showed the Earth in 2010 experienced temperatures higher than the 20th century average for the 34th year in a row.

Overall, according to NOAA, 2010 and 2005 were 0.62 Celsius above the 20th century average when taking a combination of land and water surface temperatures across the world.

In an interview with Reuters today, Professor Phil Jones from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia said last year was the world's second hottest behind 1998 in their temperature record going back to 1850.

And data due to be released by the Met Office Hadley Centre tomorrow will also show that 2010 was the second warmest year on record, beaten only by 1998.

The discrepancy between the data sets is thought to be down to the way temperatures are measured across the data sparse Arctic region, where warming has been strong in recent years.

According to the Met Office, this could be because the region is poorly represented in datasets as there are very few observing stations, an issue which the Met Office say they are looking to address.

The other data set, based solely on satellite data and compiled by the University of Alabama (UAH), and released at the start of January, also shows 2010 was the second warmest year on record, beaten only by 1998 - but by a fraction and in statistical terms the difference between the two years is insignificant.

Following El Nino, an area of warm water in the tropical Pacific, which helped lift global temperatures to elevated levels in 2010, its sister La Nina, an area of cold water in the Tropical Pacific, is doing the exact opposite and causing Global temperatures to fall quite sharply.

The figure below shows the Japanese computer models' forecast for sea surface temperature anomalies for the period March 2011 to May 2011, with La Nina clearly still visible in the tropics, continuing to have a cooling influence on Global temperatures.

With most forecasts showing that La Nina could last for much of 2011, it seems likely that 2011 will be much cooler than 2010


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