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NOAA report finds 2010 one of the two warmest years on record; El Niño-Southern Oscillation and other climate patterns played major roles in weather events

Global surface temperatures continue to rise, as 2010 was one of the two warmest years on record. Source: State of the Climate in 2010. Click to enlarge.

Worldwide, 2010 was one of the two warmest years on record, according to NOAA’s just-released 2010 State of the Climate report. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society, was compiled by 368 scientists from 45 countries. It provides a detailed, yearly update on global climate indicators, notable climate events and other climate information from every continent.

While several well-known cyclical weather patterns had a significant influence on weather and climate events throughout the year, the analysis of indicators shows a continuation of the long-term trends scientists have seen over the last 50 years, consistent with global climate change, the report said.

This year’s report tracks 41 climate indicators—four more than last year—including temperature of the lower and upper atmosphere, precipitation, greenhouse gases, humidity, cloud cover, ocean temperature and salinity, sea ice, glaciers, and snow cover. Each indicator includes thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets that allow scientists to identify overall trends.

Geographical distribution of notable climate anomalies and events occurring around the planet in 2010. Source: State of the Climate in 2010. Click to enlarge.

We’re continuing to closely track these indicators because it is quite clear that the climate of the past cannot be assumed to represent the climate of the future. These indicators are vital for understanding and making reliable projections of future climate.

—Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center

Last year was marked by important climate oscillations like the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation, which affected regional climates and contributed to many of the world’s significant weather events in 2010.

December 2010: surface air temperatures show a cool eastern Pacific and Australia influenced by la Niña. Cold air in the eastern United states and an unusually warm eastern Canada/Western greenland are both influenced by the negative Arctic Oscillation. Source: State of the Climate in 2010. Click to enlarge.

Highlights of some of the climate indicators include:

  • Temperature: Three major independent datasets show 2010 as one of the two warmest years since official record-keeping began in the late 19th century. Annual average temperatures in the Arctic continued to rise at about twice the rate of the lower latitudes.

  • Sea Ice & Glaciers: Arctic sea ice shrank to the third-smallest area on record, and the Greenland ice sheet melted at the highest rate since at least 1958. The Greenland ice sheet melt area was approximately 8% more than the previous record set in 2007. Alpine glaciers shrank for the 20th consecutive year. Meanwhile, average sea ice extent in the Antarctic grew to an all-time record maximum in 2010.

  • Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Level: Even with a moderate-to-strong La Niña in place during the latter half of the year, which is associated with cooler equatorial waters in the tropical Pacific, the 2010 average global sea surface temperature was third warmest on record and sea level continued to rise.

  • Ocean Salinity: Oceans were saltier than average in areas of high evaporation and fresher than average in areas of high precipitation, suggesting that the water cycle is intensifying.

  • Greenhouse Gases: Major greenhouse gas concentrations continued to rise. Carbon dioxide increased by 2.60 ppm, which is more than the average annual increase seen from 1980-2010.

Several major cyclical weather patterns played a key role in weather and climate in 2010:

  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation: A strong warm El Niño climate pattern at the beginning of 2010 transitioned to a cool La Niña by July, contributing to some unusual weather patterns around the world and impacting global regions in different ways. Tropical cyclone activity was below normal in nearly all basins around the globe, especially in much of the Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic basin was the exception, with near-record high North Atlantic basin hurricane activity. Heavy rains led to a record wet spring (September – November) in Australia, ending a decade-long drought.

  • Arctic Oscillation: In its negative phase for most of 2010, the Arctic Oscillation affected large parts of the Northern Hemisphere causing frigid arctic air to plunge southward and warm air to surge northward. Canada had its warmest year on record while Britain had its coldest winter at the beginning of the year and coldest December at the end of the year. The Arctic Oscillation reached its most negative value in February, the same month several cities along the US East Coast had their snowiest months ever.

  • Southern Annular Mode: An atmospheric pattern related to the strength and persistence of the storm track circling the Southern Hemisphere and the Antarctic led to an all-time maximum in 2010 of average sea ice volume in the Antarctic.

The State of the Climate report is peer-reviewed and published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The 2010 report is edited by J. Blunden, D.S. Arndt, and M.O. Baringer.




Very interesting to see how climate changes are not evenly distributed.

With the recent acceleration in the reduction of the Earth magnetic field and its cooling effects + the progressive reduction in pollution, it is a possibility that 2010 will be THE warmest year for a long time. If the sun follows similar magnetic changes, we may be going into an Ice Age, by the end of the current century or so.

We may have to pollute more to postpone the next Ice Age.


Say what??? Next Ice Age? Check your sources;


Ohh, we're not going to have another Ice Age. And the Earth's magnetic field is not reducing.

What's going to happen is the Earth is going to TURN ITSELF INSIDE OUT AND WE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!



Turtles and many thousands species and plants survived the last 30+ magnetic poles reversals. Our ancestors also survived the last 3 or 4 reversals. You will have to look somewhere else for the end of the world.


The reduction in GHG due to improved pollution controls has been surpassed by the recent eruptions of Iceland's volcanoes for the last two years.

There are approximately 112 active volcanoes on the planet. If nature decides to pollute there is nothing we can do about it. And BTW the sky isn't falling.


USGS scientist concludes that anthropogenic CO2 emissions dwarf those from volcanoes


The Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program's definition of active is "having erupted within the last 10,000 years (the 'holocene' period)."

And it only takes one eruption to meet the definition.

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