2010 tied as warmest year ever, NOAA climatologists say. Year's data are consistent with the notion that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are contributing to global warming.
Last year tied 2005 as the warmest year on record, federal climatologists said Wednesday, adding that an analysis of the year's data strengthened the notion that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are continuing to warm Earth's climate.
According to a preliminary analysis of year-end data released Wednesday, the global average temperature in 2010 topped the 20th century average by 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit.
This caps a decade marked by nine of the 10 warmest years on record and represents the 34th consecutive year in which global average temperatures topped the 20th-century average, according to data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
In addition, the year was the wettest on record globally, although rain and snowfall varied widely from place to place.
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A moderate-to-strong El Nino pattern in the eastern Pacific and a similarly energetic La Nina that followed played key roles in 2010 in setting up conditions that contributed both to temperature and precipitation patterns during the year.