Global weather: 2010 in running to be warmest year on record
If November and December temperatures stay relatively warm, 2010 could capture the record for warmest year, an early analysis shows. This year has also been marked by extreme weather events.
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• A record-smashing heat wave in Russia last summer. Moscow posted its highest temperature on record, at just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and recorded 33 consecutive days during which temperatures topped 86 degrees F. Both the heat wave and Pakistan floods resulted from the same large-scale weather pattern that stalled over that part of the globe, Dr. Jarraud notes.Skip to next paragraph
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• An unusual northern-hemisphere winter in which Canada posted its warmest and driest winter on record – some 7 degrees F above the long-term average –while the US recorded its coldest winter in 25 years, with storms dumping heavy snows across much of the continent, including a season record snowfall for Washington, D.C. Central Russia also experienced a colder-than-normal winter, although not outside historical experience. Likewise for much of Europe. But Canada's unusual warmth also extended east across Greenland and the Arctic above Scandinavia, offsetting the chill at lower latitudes. A large portion of Asia, as well as North Africa and northern Brazil, also experienced above-normal temperatures for the December-to-February period.
The winter weather in the US and Europe prompted some people in those areas to question whether global warming had taken a break. Noting people's tendency to gauge global climate change by checking their local weather, Jarraud cautioned, "don't focus only on one place to draw a general conclusion; you have to look at the global picture."
The WMO built its interim report for 2010 from data gathered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and data from Britain's Hadley Center and the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The latter was ground zero for a controversy last year triggered by an unauthorized release of e-mails that spotlighted a seamier side to scientific behavior. Subsequent investigations found no evidence that scientific results were tainted by practices and attitudes the e-mails portrayed.
Still, the WMO this year has used data from a fourth institute, the European Center for Medium-Range Forecasting, as a reality check on the other three, as well as for preliminary data for November.
The WMO plans to provide a final report on 2010's weather patterns and how they compare with long-term climate "normals" next February.