World map with global temperature changes from 1880 to 2010. Credit: NASA GISS

2010 Tied for Warmest Year on Record say NOAA and NASA

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015


Newly released scientific data shows that 2010 equals 2005 as the Earths warmest year on record over the last 131 years, say researchers from NOAA and NASA. Temperature measurements from instrumented monitoring stations date back to 1880.

The past decade from 2001 to 2010 was the warmest on record and includes 9 of the 10 hottest years. A NOAA ranking of the 15 hottest years globally shows they all occurred in the last 15 years since 1995.

2010 was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average of 57.0 F (13.9°C), according to NOAA data. 1976 was the last year with a below average global temperature. Updated.

Global surface temperature anomalies for 2010. Credit: NOAA

Overall, the combined global land and ocean surface temperatures for 2010 and 2005 has risen 1.12 F (0.62 C) compared with the 20th century average, according to NOAA. The average global temperature in 2010 was 58.12 degrees compared to 57.0 F (13.9°C) as the average for all of 20th century. 2010 was also the wettest year on record.

The rise in Earths’ global temperature has been accompanied by a decline in arctic sea ice. Specifically, surface air temperatures in the arctic were warmer than normal during the summer of 2010. The sea ice extent measured in September 2010, was the 3rd lowest on record since accurate monitoring began in 1979, states NOAA in the annual Arctic report card. See Video below.

Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C. and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City announced the findings on Jan 12. The temperature data are collected by weather stations that span across the globe.

Global measurements by independent researchers in the UK at the Met Office Hadley Centre and at the Japanese Meteorological Agency closely match the trend of warming temperatures gathered by NOAA NCDC and NASA GISS.

The graphic below combines the actual temperature data collected independently by the four research agencies. The temperature trend lines are remarkably consistent.

Multiple institutions monitor global surface temperatures. Despite subtle differences in the ways the scientists perform their analyses, these four widely referenced records show remarkable agreement. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Robert Simmon

Much of the rise in global temperatures has taken place since the late 1970’s, says NASA. The rate of increase has been about 0.36 F per decade. The NASA GISS weather data were collected using over 1000 meteorological stations around the world, satellite observations of sea surface temperature and Antarctic research station measurements.

2010 average annual temperature ranks by state in the US. Credit: NOAA

The data are fed into a computer program which then calculates temperature anomalies — the difference between surface temperature in a given month and the average temperature for the same period during 1951 to 1980. NASA GISS uses that three-decade period as the baseline for analysis against which climate change can be tracked. NOAA uses the entire 20th century.

For the contiguous United States, NOAA analysis shows that “2010 was the 14th consecutive year with an annual temperature above the long-term average. Since 1895, the temperature across the US has increased at an average rate of approximately 0.12 F per decade.”

More at these press releases from NOAA and NASA

There are large areas in the Arctic without weather stations. NASA GISS approaches the problem by filling in gaps with data from the nearest land stations. The Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which works jointly with the Met Office Hadley Centre, leaves much of the region out of its global temperature analysis. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Robert Simmon

2010 Global Significant Weather and Climate Events. Credit: NOAA

Global Temperatures.
The year 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average. The range associated with this value is plus or minus 0.07°C (0.13°F). The 2010 combined land and ocean surface temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was also the warmest on record, while the combined land and ocean surface temperature in the Southern Hemisphere was the sixth warmest such period on record. Credit: NOAA

NOAA Arctic Report Card 2010

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31 Responses

  1. Silver Thread says:

    I wonder what sort of climatic shift we’d see if the temperature was dropping instead of rising. Not a matter of the why, but specifically of the what. When the next glacial advance really starts to kick in, the Human race is in some serious trouble.

  2. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says:

    To preempt the climate sceptics who will no doubt go on like twits here, there is on word you should thing about, and that word is AVERAGE

    I.e. the AVERAGE rate of warming.

    Prattling on about unusual dry, hot, wet or cold in places through the world mean nothing. It is the average that is going to get you.

    Sorry. Climate change is an indubitably fact!

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says:

      Oops! I meant to say;

      “To preempt the climate sceptics who will no doubt go on like twits here, there is one word you should think about, and that word is AVERAGE.

      I.e. the AVERAGE rate of warming.

  3. Jason Kurant says:

    Oh no! The Earth is warming by 0.12 degrees per DECADE? What will we ever do? In only ten thousand years the oceans will be boiling! How ridiculous!

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says:

      Pleased to see you can’t read. I.e. “Since 1895…” this rise has continued. As for the future, they offer no comment.
      Why? Science cannot predict the future, only make statement based on the observed facts.
      Again, this article makes NOT ONE COMMENT of the future of the trend.
      Get out the Tarot Cards or visit your astrologer. Make been then you might get a better appraisal of the future.

  4. Torbjorn Larsson OM says:

    Heh! As they say, “that was nothing”. Wait ’til the current solar cycle, which now returns to “solar spots as usual”, stops holding the current temperature rise back! (And I hear that this cycle may be a whopper, maybe as a reflex of the previous anomaly of a long and deep minimum.)

    The 2010 Global Significant Weather and Climate Events chart of NOAA is curious to me. Why would anyone want to mix weather events (like the Arctic Oscillation) and climate trends, when the underlying correlations are poorly understood? And the chart itself is marked “climate”. This doesn’t pass the smell test. Perhaps Ken is best positioned to answer this.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says:


      Eh? Current temperature? Are you talking about atmospheric temperatures or Birkeland Currents, here?

      NOTE: Please read “The Eclectic Electrician” post, Funny! ;}

  5. Torbjorn Larsson OM says:

    @ Silver Thread, Jason Kurant:

    The human species is already in trouble, since the speed of temperature change is unprecedented. This threatens to speed up the current mass extinction we have caused, which already was trending to be among the great ones.

    It is a moral question, IIRC the UN projected earlier that 10 % of people may live as climate refugees in 2050 if the trend goes unabated (and that is the minimal trend so it is likely projected higher now). And many will die unnecessarily, if (as expected) climate phenomena is coupled to climate, floods and hurricanes tend to be catastrophes.

    To sum up, it isn’t the magnitude of change that is the immediate problem, it is the amazing speed of a whole planet changing average temperature despite many feedback effects holding it back.

    Eventually the magnitude will kick in, and it is believed that we are soon passing into the danger zone for a climate shift. (If we haven’t already, this is a hard question.) IIRC current estimates is that it starts ~ 450 ppm CO2, and we will hit ~ 400 ppm in a century even if we started to act against AGW today.

    So it is already very unlikely that Earth will see another “next glacial advance”, because the politicians are unable and/or unwilling to stem the AGW. You know, it would cost ~ 5 % of the energy cost which is too much for some.

    [shrugs] I take offense to the (im)moral suggestion that we shouldn’t try to prevent preventable catastrophes and loss of human lives. As for the mass extinction, I couldn’t care less. Since The Great One in permian, diversity has trended up after every extinction. And the recovery seems to take 1 My.

    All given, our descendants will evolve to another species because of AGW effects and recovery time before they will regain an Earth that is as productive as today, even more so at the higher temperature. That is the remainder of the moral dilemma – should we shit in our village drinking water, should we start a deadly rock avalanche on the picnic gang, should we hit our own babies for 50 000 generations? I must vote “no”.

  6. Emilio says:

    Like Economist, few years back, they had no idea the housing bubble was going to burst when and how. Burst it did! Likewise Scientist doesn’t know when and how this global warming is going to affect us. When Himalayan Glacia is gone, so will be China and India. They will turn to dust bowl.

    We talk and talk, but we are after all just earthly simple creatures, like rabbits. When Carbon based energy is cheap and plentiful we multiply like rabbits. And like rabbits most of us will die off after food run out. I can only hope that climate change is not a bubble.

  7. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    I read an article last spring about how the occurrence of C-14 in the atmosphere has gone down by a fraction proportionate to the increase in CO_2 production. Coal has little C-14. Temperatures have globally risen in proportion as well. The CO_2 molecule has a large absorption cross section for IR radiation, which it re-emits. I do not know what more people want on this. The evidence is fairly clear.

    All the right wing can really argue for is future impact of climate heating is not that bad and is not worth the economic disruptions lowering carbon output will cause. Of course that is potentially one hell of a risk. However, it appears that peak oil is coming this decade and peak coal is not that far off. So our depletion of fossil fuels will lower our carbon output for us. However, we may pass the so called tipping point where permafrost and methane hydrates will melt and liberate methane. That might run away into a much larger climate warming, even if we stop most of our carbon output by 2100.


  8. msadesign says:

    These reports are misleading, without meaning, and harmful to the ’cause’- the cause being that AGW is actually occurring.

    Why? Because 130 years or so is far too little time for establishing any sort of trend either way, and, when the so-called ‘trend’ goes the other way, these and similar reports lend unearned gravitas.

    For that reason these observations, while true, properly belong on page six. And, on a site like this, these reports require an accurate account placing the data and the observations in context.

  9. Bariman43 says:

    Well, it looks like we’re undoubtedly screwing up our planet. We’re all gonna die and it’s all our fault.

    Woah, sorry, got a little dark there. I’m sure we’ll figure something out to stop it. Right?



  10. postman1 says:

    I realize that some 2,000, government funded and grant backed University, scientists tell us that we are the cause of global warming, but why not, on a respected science site, also report on the 30,000+ scientists who don’t believe there is AGW?

    Maybe I have just missed these opposing view posts.

    • Astrofiend says:

      First of all, this article presented data, not opinion, so how can one present an ‘opposing viewpoint’ to that? The article simply states the facts – 2010 was tied for the warmest year on record. Of course – the fact that this seems to happen almost every year now is quite suggestive, isn’t it? Still, what you read into it is your business.

      Secondly, are you suggesting by dropping in the line “government funded and grant backed University, scientists”, that the whole climate change thing is simply concocted by scientists because they receive funding for it? As if they are feathering their bed and getting rich off peddling lies that only astute blog commenters are capable of seeing through? Do you feel similarly about other areas of science? That we’re all spinning you one big story so we can make money? Let me tell you mate – you don’t become any sort of scientist to make money. We get paid worse than almost any job you could care to name, with the possible exception of a fast-food register jockey.

  11. Bariman43 says:

    “They’re scientists! They MUST be right!”


  12. xrayexplorer says:

    A point I found interesting in the trending of the data is the very sharp increase in temperature trending over the last 35 years and also the ~ 20 years leading up to the early 1940’s. Inbetween appears to have been pretty flat.

    Has there been any effort to correlate this to any phenomonon such as the absorption rate of C02 by the oceans or methane release from the earth/seas etc? Given that these 2 trends add up to the great majority of the warming over the past 130 years, any kind of insight into how the earth and atmosphere react to changes could be interesting.

  13. RUF says:

    I can tell all that in the the Midwest of the US, this winter has been colder than any in the last 15 years. Snowfall has been average for the last 5+ years, but probably more than most of the last 25 years.

    Winter is more like what I remember from the 70’s, but colder and wetter than the 90’s.

    • DrFlimmer says:

      We had 3 very cold winters in a row in Germany. I never felt temperatures of -16°C before in my life during midday!
      Still, 2010 was the warmest year in record. That is to say, even very cold winters cannot change the trend: We warm up.

      • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

        The video clip indicates how warming is perturbing the polar gyrus. This is permitting arctic cold to distribute further south. This is one reason the last couple of winters have been unusually cold. This presents us with a paradox of sorts, or a PR problem with people who find themselves shovelling more snow in winter.


    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says:

      RUF can’t read….

      “To preempt the climate sceptics who will no doubt go on like twits here, there is on word you should think about, and that word is AVERAGE
      I.e. the AVERAGE rate of warming.”

  14. DanNY says:

    I have to say that I love this site for its Astronomy/Space reporting, but I despise the eco-nut AGW bent.

    In the U.S. data available from the NCDC there were 22 years in the past 105 that were warmer than 2010. So how you can say it is tied for second warmest is beyond me.

    Read more here:

    • Uncle Fred says:

      It shouldn’t be beyond you at all. You didn’t read the article. Average GLOBAL temperatures have gone up. It is true that this year is not all that special for north America. Yet most of the warming this year has been in other areas. The overall trend even in that graph is clear: It’s getting warmer everywhere.

      Also, have a quick look around that site, the site is littered with “climategate” sections as well as various books espousing titles like “Warming Blunder” etc etc.

      I’m pretty sure you liked to this site as a joke, as it’s clear they get their revenue from promoting their brand of ideas for advertising kickbacks. You had me going there for a second.

  15. Matt S. says:

    DanNY: “I have to say that I love this site for its Astronomy/Space reporting, but I despise the eco-nut AGW bent.”

    *sigh* So apparently you’re a far-out activist for posting data. Maybe you shouldn’t focus on enjoying one branch of science (astronomy), instead you should enjoy the scientific method.

    DanNY: “In the U.S. data available from the NCDC there were 22 years in the past 105 that were warmer than 2010. So how you can say it is tied for second warmest is beyond me.”

    *sigh* We all know that the U.S. of A. is the only (important) country on the planet. Who cares about, hm, let’s call them “the others”. Those shadowy lands that from time to time crop up on the TV, even if rarely.

    Please forgive my cynicism… last time I checked “global” didn’t mean “in the USA”, it involves some other, “foreign”, entities as well.

  16. William928 says:

    Thank you Matt S. Some people have very selective reading (and hearing) skills.

  17. William928 says:

    @DanNY: Yeah, pity those “eco-nuts” are so concerned about our evironment, huh? What do you care though, you won’t be around in 50 years to witness the real consequences, right?

  18. Eduardo says:

    El analfabeta americano promedio no cree en los dos millones de damnificados y 2000 muertos de su aliado Pakistan, mucho menos el millon y medio de damnificados y los 200 muertos en su aliada Colombia, los 340 mil /48 en Venezuela y los 890000/650 en Brasil TODOS en temporadas donde debería NO LLOVER, SEGURO son por obra de Dios. Son tan estúpidamente fanáticos que les va a llegar Jesucristo y no se dan cuenta que jodieron al planeta viendo a Disbney y las tetas de Dolly Parton. Los dinosaurios eran igual de poderosos, y los mató la naturaleza. Tardamos 67 millones de años en crear otros reptiles: jodanse.

  19. tareece says:

    Buried in the figure 4, there is a bit of “leap” by the NOAA-NASA…
    They “FILL IN” areas where there are no instruments. It is no accident that those very areas are filled in as the warmest. Not even moderate “ORANGES”… but the deepest of Reds. And looking at their process explained (“NASA GISS approaches the problem by filling in gaps with data from the nearest land stations.”) they fill in from +1000’s of miles away… yep… pure science there.
    And figure 6 looks just like a regular oscillation curve…on average, of course.
    I can’t read either I guess.
    Keep on drumming that drum…Save the “Cause”!
    Damn Martians and Plutionians burnin’ all their fossil fuels too….

  20. Dark Gnat says:

    Don’t worry, patented genetically modified food will save us. Unless of course it fals to desease, being genetically identicle and all. The food industry will dramatically raise the price of available food so that only the very wealthy will be able to eat.

    As food resources dwindle, skirmishes will break out, which wil eventually lead to full on war – for survival.

    Malnutrition will lead to widespread disease, and insurance companies will go bankrupt.

    By this time, the “dustbowl effect” will have kicked in across the world, and we will be down to a few million at best, and they will have to live in third world conditions.

    So keep mowing down those forest, build strip malls, and produce unecessary plastic objects, and flame-scream at anyone who object. It’s called “progress” after all.

  21. tareece says:

    And I LOVE the “normal” bellwether “Cyclones” were at a “well below average” level…. I must have slipped and fell during “My Opinion”.. .err, “I-con. Truth”
    I thought the cyclonic activity would RISE with the heating…especially Globally.

    Come on you can make it still fit into your “cause”… Don’t give up!
    (And China-India seems to have only a moderately warmer year… musta been a down year at all those factories)

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