World Meteorological Organization: 2010 equals record for worlds hottest year and the “data confirm the Earths significant long-term warming trend.”

2010 “characterized by a high number of extreme weather events”


In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean. This value is 0.01°C (0.02°F) above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02°C (0.05°F) above 1998. The difference between the three years is less than the margin of uncertainty (± 0.09°C or ± 0.16°F) in comparing the data….

Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record.

The World Meteorological Organization announcement follows fast on the heels of the release of NOAA and NASA data showing 2010 tied with 2005 for hottest year on record.

WMO takes into account data from NASA, NOAA and UK Meteorological Office Hadley Center, as well as the satellite data, which is why 1998 is so close.  We now know that Met Office Hadley Centre data underestimates the rate of recent global warming.

The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.”

Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C (0.83°F) above the 1961-1990 average, and are the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since the beginning of instrumental climate records.

The WMO also discusses the extreme weather:

The year 2010 was characterized by a high number of extreme weather events, including the heatwave in Russia and the devastating monsoonal floods in Pakistan….

There have been many major weather and climate events in late 2010 and early 2011. These include:

  • In early January floods affected more than 800 000 people in Sri Lanka according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Philippines were also severely affected by floods and mudslides during January.
  • Flash floods in the mountain areas near the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in the second week of January resulted in more than 700 deaths, many of them in mudslides. This is one of the highest death tolls due to a single natural disaster in Brazilian history.
  • Severe flooding occurred in eastern Australia in December and the first half of January, associated with the continuing strong La Ni±a event.  The most extensive damage was in the city of Brisbane, which had its second-highest flood of the last 100 years after that of January 1974. In financial terms it is expected to be the most costly natural disaster in Australia’s history.on

As scientists have long predicted, increasing levels of greenhouse gases would lead to increasing global temperatures, and more extreme weather, especially heatwaves and flooding.

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22 Responses to World Meteorological Organization: 2010 equals record for worlds hottest year and the “data confirm the Earths significant long-term warming trend.”

  1. cervantes says:

    And yet we’ve been freezing our tuchas’s off here in New England, on account of that polar oscillation thing, as I understand it. This is unfortunate because all the U.S. policy makers are concentrated in the eastern U.S. temperate zone where they have been experiencing cold, snowy winters recently — and the heuristic of direct personal experience is much more powerful than what some eggheads are writing in arcane scientific journals. In fact a lot of them are probably cheering for global warming to hurry up.

    This is a legitimate problem.

  2. Michael T. says:


    The Arctic Oscillation is currently forecast to go positive over the next two weeks and into early February:

    So this may reduce the outbreaks of polar air during February.

  3. Sasparilla says:

    Good point cervantes and one that isn’t easily solved until we have some terrible, undeniable catastrophe directly related to global warming in the US. We already saw this same behavior affect much of Europe (UK especially) because of the cold winter they had in 2010 – wait till the gulf stream changes at some point and make things really cold there.

    The fact that the ice pack in the Arctic is not recovering (because of that arctic oscillation thing) in a comparable manner to previous years is worrisome. While I have no faith that an ice free arctic would change things in Washington, the more time we have before we loose the ice pack and further speed the permafrost methane bomb, the better.

  4. MapleLeaf says:

    And yet, I am hearing more chatter than I can recall in recent years about alleged cooling or alleged rapidly falling ocean levels. Just incredible how deeply in denial some people are.

  5. Peter M says:

    The weather conditions in New England have been the coldest in recent memory- I would say going back to at least the mid 90s, or earlier.

    If I mention global warming these days I am almost laughed at. Obviously the weather needs to break from this polar oscillation soon, or else there will be less and less any possible work being accomplished for reducing emissions.

    The weather outlook into next week look frigid. With more snow tomorrow.
    It makes it very difficult for an average person to believe the scientists with this kind of ice box outside.

  6. Vic says:

    This is great news for those involved in the mammoth tusk trade.

    Business is brisk it would seem.

  7. Nathanael says:

    Gah. People are stupid. The snowy winters in the Northeast are because it is WARMER. These winters are still WARMER than the winters were when I was a kid — they’re just picking up more moisture from the warm oceans and giving us more snow, rather than actually being colder. Hell, it was green on New Year’s, which is bizarre and unheard of.

    Of course, at this point I expect humanity is doomed, unless we can figure out how to survive in “hothouse world” (15 degrees C warmer than what we evolved in).

    Many other species will survive, as a fair number date, practically unchanged, to “hothouse world” ecologies. I doubt we’ll get the giant ferns back, but something will take over their niche. The oceans will bloom with algae which are currently marginalized in obscure locations.

    If the geological record is any indicator, the temperature should stabilize after we hit the Paleocene temperatures — or slightly hotter — thanks to negative feedback effects which we clearly don’t understand yet.

    (I doubt anyone will be capable of overwhelming those effects through fossil fuel burning after civilization is wrecked by the “hothouse world” temperatures, though I suppose an even more aggressive attempt at self-destruction could drive the world to Venusian status.)

    We should leave an ark for future civilizations which may evolve in millions of years.

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    Ramesh latest dig at IPCC : Miscalculated impact of CO2 on global warming

    Can someone explain how Galactic Cosmic Rays form low level clouds ? This one escapes me ?

  9. Michael T. says:

    ClimateCenter: The New Normals

    What we’ve known as “normals” for our climate during the past decade will very likely change soon. That’s because government scientists are busy determining what’s been the average temperature and precipitation for thousands of U.S. locations during the past 30-year period. Much like the U.S. Census, the re-calculation takes place once every decade to reflect recent climate trends.

    The new climate “normals” will provide key information for decisions we make in the future, ranging from what we plant, what we pay for energy, and even where we take a vacation.

    Climate Central’s Dr. Heidi Cullen explains in this edition of ClimateCenter.

  10. mickey says:

    Actually for New England, this winter has not been overly cold compared to the long-term averages. I should also note that the winters of 2003, 2004, and 2009 were colder up to this point. Now in terms of snowfall, it has been very snowy. Lets remember New England winters are usually cold. This past December, Maine was above normal, New Hampshire and Vermont near normal, while for Massachusetts, Connecticut,and Rhode Island it was on the cold side but each state ranked between 35-40 out of 116. Last winter was on the mild side in New England but cold in the Mid Atlantic. It is more the Ohio Valley, Lower Mississippi Valley, and Southeast where this and last winter was abnormally cold a common product of negative AO values. And never mind in 2010, 11 of the 12 months (everyone except December) was above normal in Boston and Hartford so it is not too unreasonable that you would have number of cold ones this year. I do though agree that people tend to base their opinions on the weather where they live rather than global temperatures and in the past two winters the core of the cold has seemed to center over the heavily populated areas. Ironically in the winter of 2008 you saw the opposite as this was quite cold in the polar regions but mild along the Eastern Seaboard of the US and Western Europe. Also people’s memories of past weather tend to be not very good as they usually remember extreme events not day to day weather thus relying one’s memory isn’t usually accurate either.

  11. GFW says:

    What’s the baseline in the first graph? The text refers to the standard 1960 to 1991 baseline, but the graph clearly uses another.

    I realize baselines are not meaningful other than to bring multiple records together, but for some people the baseline in that graph would make them think “it was too cold before, now this is better”.

  12. GFW says:

    Oh, answering my own question … clicking through the graph leads to the explanation of a 1980 to 2010 baseline. I understand why that was done, but still it would be better to then shift them all by the difference between the GISS 1980-2010 average and the GISS 1961-1990 average and state that the graph is relative to the standard GISS baseline.

    (yes, I typo’d in my previous post saying 1960-1991)

  13. Solar Jim says:

    The present warming trend of the past decade or two may be the horizontal part of an exponential planetary response curve. The present cold air is that which is spilling out of a broken Arctic Vortex while warm air and seas head north to accelerate polar ice cap melting.

    The more vertical part of the response curve should be a scream.

    Pakistan, Queensland, Brazil etc. Hello, is there any intelligent life on Earth? You’ve got to love those whack-job deniers. They are probably gearing up to broadcast from underwater. We could sell them waterproof microphones. Maybe they’ll buy that. Gurgle, gurgle. Water pumping equipment vendors should do well, one of the positive attributes of climate collapse.

    Where is my atomic bailout bucket?

  14. SydneyGreg says:

    Of course, the elephant in the room which the press and everyone else avoided during the coverage of the ‘Brisbane floods’ was that the level was only 4.46m above mean sea level. Now that ‘mean’ was already 0.08m below actual mean sea level thanks to warming of the ocean and a ‘minor’ amount of land-ice melt. What will it be like in Brisbane when this is every day as will happen once one of the big ice sheets (Greenland, West Antarctica) goes into the ocean altogether? I suspect they will still be in denial when there is 0.6m more water over everything, every day…

  15. Michael T. says:

    2010 — a near-record year

    20 January 2011 — The Met Office and the University of East Anglia have today released provisional global temperature figures for 2010, which show the year to be the second warmest on record.

  16. Michael says:

    Tamino recently did an interesting analysis of global temperature trends, accounting for ENSO, volcanic and solar influences, which I think is worth making a posting on:

    In conclusion he notes:

    Another interesting point is that in the adjusted data sets, all 5 sources have 2010 as the hottest year on record. In fact, 4 out of 5 (all but NCDC) also have 2009 as the 2nd-hottest year — quite the 1-2 punch. Of course all trends are statistically significant — strongly so. The conclusion is inescapable: the globe is warming, and shows absolutely no sign whatever of stopping or even slowing its warming. Any talk of “cooling” or even a “levelling off” of global warming over the last decade is absolute nonsense.

  17. Down under we’ve been subjected to some the worst flooding in history.

    The amazing thing… the “conservative” media have gone into a tailspin, blogging/printing story after story stating “the floods have nothing to do with global warming!”

    The shrill denial is like a panic.

    As usual they focus on a few facts (the Brisbane river had higher flood levels in the past) while refusing to even discuss the flooding in Brazil, South Africa and Sri Lanka taking place at the same time.

    By resolutely focusing on local events, they are explicitly denying the larger picture.

  18. Robert In New Orleans says:

    This graph shows civilization on a ballistic trajectory to collapse.

  19. caerbannog says:

    Regarding global-average temperature results…

    Not long ago, I decided to “roll my own” super-simple global temperature anomaly computation routine. I implemented a very simple algorithm where I computed unweighted averages of individual temperature station anomalies (i.e. no gridding, geospatial weighting or any other fancy stuff).

    I did this because I wanted to see whether a super-simple method that could be understood by high-school students would produce global temperature results “in the same ballpark” as NASA/CRU/etc.

    Well, I ended up getting results remarkably similar to NASA’s “Northern Latitudes” Index. This should not be too surprising, because the temperate northern latitudes contain a lion’s share of the GHCN temperature stations. But it was nice to see that even a brain-dead super-simple averaging routine produces results right in line with NASA’s.

    I also found that the results for GHCN “raw” vs. “adjusted” data didn’t differ very much at all. In fact, the differences between raw vs. adjusted data are absolutely minimal for the last 50 years (or so) of the temperature record.

    Posted the results over at, along with a link to the code that produced my results. Linky here:

    This shouldn’t be considered a serious analysis effort by a long-shot, but something like this could make a good teaching/demo tool for students, skeptical family members, etc. It’s a nice demonstration that shows that there’s no “black magic” involved in computing global-average temperatures — a simple, straightforward averaging technique will produce “in the ballbpark” results.

  20. James Newberry says:

    Watching at #17:
    “the floods have nothing to do with global warming!”
    If it is coal sponsored corporate media saying this, kind of proves the point.

    Deniers is misspelled.

    We are very sorry for the hardships and destruction in Australia, and around the world. It seems the reef will also suffer further.

  21. john says:

    “Severe flooding occurred in eastern Australia in December and the first half of January, associated with the continuing strong La Niña event. The most extensive damage was in the city of Brisbane, which had its second-highest flood of the last 100 years after that of January 1974. In financial terms it is expected to be the most costly natural disaster in Australia’s history”

    without Wivenhoe dam the 2011 flood would have been up to 2M higher in Brisbane and comparable to the 1974 flood

  22. caerbannog says:

    ABC news just ran another piece about the links between global-warming and the recent wacky weather. They had Dr. Richard Somerville on and once again didn’t give so much as a second of equal time to a denier hack. I sure hope that this is the beginning of a pattern for ABC (and I hope the other networks start doing the same).