Another year, another record

In A/C news on January 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed what had been widely suspected: no year on record has been hotter worldwide than was 2010 .

Here are the rankings. No need to point out that 9 of the top 10 years start with a ‘2’:

Global Top 10
Warmest Years (Jan-Dec)
Anomaly °C Anomaly °F
2010 0.62 1.12
2005 0.62 1.12
1998 0.60 1.08
2003 0.58 1.04
2002 0.58 1.04
2009 0.56 1.01
2006 0.56 1.01
2007 0.55 0.99
2004 0.54 0.97
2001 0.52 0.94

Statistical theory predicts that if the average temperature is increasing, the frequency of extreme events will rise even faster. We saw excellent examples of that in 2010. As NOAA summarized it,

Several exceptional heat waves occurred during 2010, bringing record high temperatures and affecting tens of millions of people. Warm conditions were present across India during April. On the 18th, Delhi recorded its warmest April temperature since 1958 when temperatures soared to 43.7°C (110.7°F). Another heat wave baked northern India and Pakistan at the end of May. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Service, a maximum temperature of 53.5°C (128.3°F) was recorded in Mohenjo-Daro on May 26th. This was the warmest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan and the warmest temperaure recorded in Asia since 1942. In mid-June, a strong blocking pattern settled over western Russia, bringing an unprecendented two-month long heat wave to the area.

On July 29th, the Moscow Observatory recorded its highest-ever temperature—38.2°C (100.8°F), breaking the previous record of 37.2°C (98.9°F) set just four days earlier. Prior to 2010, the hottest temperature in Moscow was 36.8°C (98.2°F), recorded 90 years ago. That same day, Finland recorded its highest ever temperature as the mercury reached 37.2°C (99.0°F) in Joensuu, breaking the old record set in Turku in July 1914 by 1.3°C (2.3°F). The massive heat wave brought Russia its warmest summer (June–August) on record. At least 15,000 deaths in Russia were attributed to the heat.

Extreme summer warmth was felt in other areas around the world as well. According to the the Beijing Climate Center, China experienced its warmest summer on record since 1961. And the Japan Meteorological Agency reported that the country had its warmest summer since records began in 1898. On average, temperatures across Japan were 1.64°C (2.96°F) greater than the 1971–2000 average. According to Environment Canada, Canada had its third warmest summer since national records began in 1948, behind 1998 (warmest) and 2006 (second warmest). In fact, the January–August period was Canada’s warmest such period on record. In contrast, Australia experienced its coolest winter (Northern Hemisphere summer) in 13 years.

In September, following on the heels of its second coolest summer on record, a scorching heat wave in part of the western U.S. brought downtown Los Angeles, California its highest ever recorded temperature on the 27th. A temperature of 45°C (113°F) was recorded, breaking the old record of 44.4°C (112°F) set on June 26th, 1990.

Here you can see the word from the experts on why we are seeing so many extreme heat waves.


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