2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record worldwide, U.S. government climate scientists said Wednesday.
According to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last year’s land and water surface temperatures averaged 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.62 degrees Celsius) higher than normal 20th century figures.
2010 and 2005 were also the warmest years since scientists began taking down data in 1880. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.
In addition, last year saw the most precipitation in recorded history, the NOAA said.
“The warmth this year reinforces the notion that we are seeing climate change,” said David Easterling, chief of scientific services at the climatic data center.
NOAA surveyed temperatures from land stations and ships at buoys at sea. Experts said land temperatures were the warmest on record, at 1.80 degrees Fahrenheit above normal average temperatures. Ocean temperatures were the third warmest on record, averaging 0.88 degrees above normal figures.
The Pacific Ocean experienced the fewest number of hurricanes and named storms since the 1960s, while the Atlantic swelled with the second highest number of hurricanes on record and the third highest number of storms.
Expert Bob Ward at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science says the data incontrovertibly proves the existence of global climate change.
“These new figures show unequivocally that the Earth is warming and its temperature is at record levels,” Ward said, according to AFP.
NOAA also found that Arctic sea ice cover fared poorly in 2010, shrinking to the third smallest levels since records began in 1979, just short of 2007 and 2008′s losses.
Despite overall record highs, the Northern Hemisphere was bombarded with more cold and snow than average in January and February.
Scientists said the data “also showed that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had reached 390 parts per million, its highest level for at least 800,000 years and almost 40 per cent higher than the level before the start of the Industrial Revolution when humans started to burn fossil fuels in increasing amounts,” he said.