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NOAA: 2012 global temperatures 10th highest on record

16 January 2013

The globally-averaged temperature for 2012 marked the 10th warmest year since record keeping began in 1880, according to the latest State of the Climate report from NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center. It also marked the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

The last below-average annual temperature was 1976. Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century (2001–2012) rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record. Only one year during the 20st century—1998—was warmer than 2012.

Global temperature highlights include:

  • 2012 was the 10th warmest year since records began in 1880. The globally-averaged annual combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.57 °C (1.03 °F) above the 20th century average of 13.9 °C (57.0 °F). The margin of error is ± 0.08 °C (0.14 °F).

  • Record to near-record warm land surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere from April to September and overall warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures made the first 11 months of the year the eighth warmest on record. However, extreme cold across much of the Northern Hemisphere land during December helped lower the year-to-date temperature departure from average by 0.02 °C (0.04 °F) compared with the previous month.

  • The 2012 worldwide land surface temperature was 0.90 °C (1.62 °F) above the 20th century average, making it the seventh warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ± 0.18 °C (0.32 °F).

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