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Global Temperature for 2010, Second Warmest on Record

21 January 2011

With a mean temperature of 14.50 °C, 2010 becomes the second warmest year on record, after 1998. The record is maintained by the Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit at UEA in Britain.

Earlier this month, in the US, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center announced that the past year is either warmest or equal-warmest on their respective records.

Events in the Pacific Ocean have heavily influenced the global temperature in 2010. The year began in El Niño conditions, which have a warming effect. But the El Niño was replaced by a very strong La Niña - the strongest for more than 30 years - which acts to cool the climate.

Dr Adam Scaife, head of long range forecasting at the Met Office, said:

"The three leading global temperature datasets show that 2010 is clearly warmer than 2009. They also show that 2010 is the warmest or second warmest year on record as suggested in the Met Office's annual forecast of global temperature issued in December 2009."

Speaking about the figures, Professor Phil Jones, Director of Research at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia said:

"The warmest 10 years in all three datasets are the same and have all occurred since 1998. The last 10 years 2001-2010 were warmer than the previous 10 years (1991-2000) by 0.2 °C."

2010 has been a year of headline-making weather. In the summer there were extremes such as the Russian heatwave and the floods in Pakistan and China. At the end of the year many areas across Northern Europe experienced heavy snowfalls and very low temperatures, while eastern Australia saw extensive flooding.

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