Record December chill kept 2010 from being warmest in history

It looks like 2010 will go down in history as the 3rd warmest year on record globally. If not for widespread record cold in December, it would have been the warmest.

Widespread and record cold (and snow) blasted large sections of the globe in December.

-Twin Cities temperatures ran -2.3 degrees in December. A record 33.6″ of snowfall buried the metro and much of Minnesota. The early season snow blitz has put the Twin Cities on track for the 3rd snowiest start to winter on record!

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-December’s cold wave penetrated all the way down to Florida. Many locations in Florida shivered through the coldest December on record since 1890.

From the Tampa NWS:

“NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA – RUSKIN FL

940 PM EST SUN JAN 2 2011

…DECEMBER 2010 ENDS UP AS THE COLDEST DECEMBER SINCE RECORDS BEGAN AT MOST SITES…

A GOOD PART OF DECEMBER 2010 WAS RATHER COOL WITH TEMPERATURES AVERAGING 7 TO OVER 11 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL FOR THE MONTH. THIS COLD WEATHER CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE ARCTIC OSCILLATION (AO) WHICH WAS HIGHLY NEGATIVE FOR MOST OF THE MONTH AND DOMINATED THE OVERALL WEATHER PATTERN ACROSS THE UNITED STATES. THESE COOL TEMPERATURES PLACED MOST SITES ACROSS WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA AS THE COLDEST DECEMBER SINCE RECORDS BEGAN.”

(Thanks to my colleague and MN Twins Meteorologist Craig Edwards for the data)

-Britain also recoded the coldest December on record and the 5th coldest month ever in recorded history.

From the UK Met Office:

“Record cold December 2010

5 January 2011

- Provisional figures from the Met Office issued today reveal that December 2010 has become the coldest December across the UK since the national series began in 1910.

The mean temperature for the UK has been -1.0 °C, well below the long term average of 4.2 °C. The previous coldest December in the series was 0.1 °C, in 1981.”

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Thanks to MPR colleague and UM Professor Dr. Mark Seeley for the info. You can read more at Mark’s Weather Talk site here.

The World Meteorological Organization reports that 2010 is likely to be the 3rd warmest year on record globally. The just completed decade of the 2000′s is also the warmest decade on record.

From the WMO:

“Cancun/Geneva (WMO) – The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top 3 warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2010 (January-October) is currently estimated at 0.55°C ± 0.11°C1 (0.99°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. At present, 2010′s nominal value is the highest on record, just ahead of 1998 (January-October anomaly +0.53°C) and 2005 (0.52°C)2. The ERA-Interim3 reanalysis data are also indicating that January-October 2010 temperatures are near record levels. The final ranking of 2010 will not become clear until November and December data are analyzed in early 2011. Preliminary operational data from 1-25 November indicate that global temperatures from November 2010 are similar to those observed in November 2005, indicating that global temperatures for 2010 are continuing to track near record levels.

Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C above the 1961-1990 average, 0.03°C above the 2000-09 average and the highest value ever recorded for a 10-year period. Recent warming has been especially strong in Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of the Arctic; the Saharan/Arabian, East African, Central Asian and Greenland/Arctic Canada sub-regions have all had 2001-10 temperatures 1.2 to 1.4°C above the long-term average, and 0.7°C to 0.9°C warmer than any previous decade.”

NOAA’s NCDC has not yet crunched their complete numbers for 2010, but data through November shows 2010 was the warmest year on record through November. The record chill in December will likely drop the final 2010 tally to 2nd or 3rd.

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The bottom line is 2010 was yet another “top 5 warmest year on record” globally, and yet another solid piece of evidence that our planet is not “cooling” as some claim.

PH

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