Although the right wing and some traditional journalists argue that extreme winter storms “refute” global warming, the planet in fact continues to grow hotter and more dangerous because of burning fossil fuels. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced that “2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record,” and 2010 is also “the wettest year on record, in terms of global average precipitation.” The year was by far the hottest during a La Niña cycle, during which the equatorial Pacific Ocean is unusually cold:
According to NOAA scientists, 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, beginning in 1880. This was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average. For the contiguous United States alone, the 2010 average annual temperature was above normal, resulting in the 23rd warmest year on record.
The record amount of heat stored in the atmosphere and oceans fueled record high temperatures in 19 nations and catastrophic, unprecedented, and extreme weather throughout the world. NOAA reports that the strongest negative Arctic Oscillation on record drove “major snowstorms across much of eastern North America, Europe and Asia,” and an unusually strong jet stream created the “unprecedented two-month heat wave to Russia” and “devastating floods in Pakistan.”