Just-concluded 2010 tied with 2005 for the warmest year ever recorded on the Earth’s surface, the 34th straight year of global temperatures higher than the 20th Century average, reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“In the contiguous United States, 2010 was the 14th consecutive year with an annual temperature above the long term average,” NOAA said in a report released Tuesday.
David Easterling, scientific services chief at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, indicated the record may not stand. “These results show that the climate is continuing to show the influence of greenhouse gases. It’s showing the evidence of warming,” he told during a teleconference with reporters.
According to figures compiled by Accuweather, above-normal temperatures predominated in most major American cities, despite a year that began with extremely cold temperatures and record snowfalls in the East.
Atlanta recorded 216 days of above-normal temperatures, compared to 142 days below normal.
Boston was above normal 217 days of the year, and below normal 140 days during 2010. Houston was above normal 215 days, below normal just 144 days. Phoenix was hotter still, 219 days above normal and only 132 days below.
Despite its big snowfall early last year, Washington, D.C., was above normal 225 days and below normal only 130 days.
At a press briefing Tuesday, NOAA officials noted extremes of weather across the globe, marked by such events as multiple 100-degree plus days in Moscow — with huge forest fires – and the massive flooding of the Indus River in Pakistan.
The new NOAA figures track with similar findings north of the border.
The past year was the hottest ever recorded in Canada, according to an Environment Canada climate report.
The new climate data comes just as global warming skeptics have become chairmen of key committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a process of rule-making to curb emissions of greenhouse gases. But legislation to delay EPA’s regulatory authority is expected to pass the House, and faces a close vote in the Senate.
“How many times do we have to be smacked in the face with factual evidence before we address global climate change?” Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a leading advocate of curbs on greenhouse gases, said in a statement Thursday.
“Report after report keep confirming it’s getting worse every year. Will we find common ground and adult leadership or keep piling the science on a shelf to collect dust.”