NASA scientists say the most recent meteorological year, which ran from December 2009 through November 2010, was the warmest in 131 years of of record keeping.
The world’s average temperature in 2010 was 14.65 degrees Celsius, or 58.57 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2005, the former front-runner for warmest meteorological year, the temperature was 14.62 degrees Celsius, or 58.32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whether other agencies will agree with NASA’s rank remains to be seen.
That’s because other global temperature collectors, such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, use different methods to track and rank temperatures.
Even if NOAA and others disagree with NASA’s rankings, 2010 will go down as one of the warmest years on record – despite an unusually cool winter in Northern Europe and lower than average solar irradiance.
According to James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science, and three other NASA scientists:
The cold anomaly in Northern Europe in November has continued and strengthened in the first half of December. Combined with the unusual cold winter of 2009-2010 in Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, this regional cold spell has caused widespread commentary that global warming has ended. That is hardly the case. On the contrary, globally November 2010 is the warmest November in the GISS record.
NASANASA scientists say 2010 was the hottest year ever.
In addition, solar irradiance was low this past year. In general, when solar irradiance is low, global temperatures are low, as well.
"The new record temperature in 2010 is particularly meaningful because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” wrote the scientists.
The scientists suggest that the heat waves recorded in Russia and France this year are unlikely to be anomalies in a future they predict will become increasingly warm.
Indeed, according to the scientists' data, nine of the 10 hottest meteorological years on record have occurred since 2001; 1998 is the only one to have occurred before 2000.