Met Office: 2010 was second warmest year on record

UK data shows last year was the second warmest after 1998 – while US agencies record it as the joint warmest

Last year was the second warmest on record after 1998, the Met Office announced today.

With a mean temperature of 14.5C, 2010 was 0.5C warmer than the global average from 1961-1990, according to data from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia.

These figures follow two similar announcements last week from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which suggested that 2010 was the joint warmest year on their respective records.

Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, said the studies painted a relatively coherent picture. "The three leading global temperature datasets show that 2010 is clearly warmer than 2009," he said. "They also show that 2010 is the warmest or second warmest year on record."

The UN's World Meteorological Organisation, which bases its reports on all three sets of data, said today that 2010 was the joint warmest year on record, tied with 1998 and 2005. "The 2010 data confirm the Earth's significant long-term warming trend," said the secretary-general, Michel Jarraud. "The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998."

2010 saw a number of extreme weather events, including a summer heatwave in Russia, floods in Pakistan, Australia and China and heavy snowfall in northern Europe.

The UK recorded its coldest year since 1986 and its coldest December in 100 years, according to the Met Office. However, very few parts of the world were significantly colder than normal during 2010. The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest year with a mean temperature of 0.69C above the long-term average.

Climate records kept by the Met Office, NOAA and Nasa are based on data from land-based weather and climate stations, ships, buoys and satellites.

Friends of the Earth's policy and campaigns director, Craig Bennett, said: "We may have been trudging through deep snow last month, but these figures show there's an enormous difference between climate and weather – despite the efforts of some to claim that global warming is a myth."

"Experts say climate change will increase extreme weather events, and from Brisbane to Brazil there have been numerous weather-related disasters in recent weeks."


Sylvia Rowley

The GuardianTramp

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