Last year, according to the Met Office Hadley Centre, was the second warmest on record with a temperature anomaly of 0.50C above the 1961-1990 average.
This was very close, but slightly below their forecast which was issued at the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009. It stated global temperatures were likely to be almost 0.6C above the 1961-1990 average.
In fact the forecast for 2010 was part of a projection for 2009-2019 which showed a range of possible outcomes for each year but with a "central estimate" for 2010 showing a figure of about 0.55C above the average. The forecast of a 0.6C rise it would seem was 'rounded up' from this central estimate.
This means that in the last 11 years, 10 of the global forecasts issued by the Met Office have been too warm. This 'warm bias' in their forecasts, first discussed on this blog, and later by Roger Harrabin, is very small, just 0.05C, and according to the Met Office the difference between the forecast and the actual temperature is within its own stated margins of error.
But it would be normal to expect a random scatter of errors either side of the central forecast temperature, rather than for the error to be always on the warm side, as is the case here.
There could be a number of explanations for this, including the lack of observations in the Arctic circle where warming has been strong. If this warming has been underestimated, it would mean that the Met Office global forecasts in the last 11 years may not have a warm bias - it could be that global temperatures have been warmer than what has actually been observed.
Looking ahead, The Met Office expects 'half the years between 2010 and 2015 to be hotter than the hottest year on record'.
As for 2011 they are expecting another very warm year, with a global anomaly forecast of +0.44C above the 1961-1990 average.
That would make 2011 the equal 6th warmest year on record. Their latest forecast for 2011 can be read here.
So far, it's been a very cold start to the year globally. With La Nina, an area of cold water in the tropical Pacific which depresses global temperatures, expected to continue well into 2011, the Met Office's global forecast is already beginning to look too warm.