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2010 Tied for Warmest on Record So Far

This year has been a steamy one so far, with the first nine months tied for the warmest on record with the same period in 1998, according to a new report looking at combined land and ocean surface temperatures.

The global average land surface temperature for January-September was the second warmest on record, behind 2007; and the global ocean surface temperature for that stint was also the second warmest on record, behind 1998.

The report was put out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climate Data Center and includes records going back to 1880.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • For the year-to-date, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 58.67 degrees Fahrenheit (14.75 degrees Celsius) tied with 1998 as the warmest January-September period on record. That record is 1.17 degrees F (0.65 degrees C) above the 20th century average.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for September 2010 tied with 1998 as the eighth warmest month on record at 59.9 degrees F (15.5 degrees C).
  • The September 2010 global land surface temperature was the ninth warmest September on record.

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Warmer-than-average conditions dominated the world's land areas this year. The most prominent warmth was in western Alaska, most of the contiguous United States, eastern Canada, Greenland, the Middle East, eastern and central Europe, western and far eastern Russia and northeastern Asia.

Cooler-than-average regions included much of Australia, western Canada, parts of the northern United States, parts of western and central Europe, and central Russia.

Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum on Sept. 19, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The 2010 average extent of 1.89 million square miles (4.90 million square kilometers) was the third lowest September sea ice extent on record (30.4 percent below average).

Antarctic sea ice reached its annual maximum in September, and marked the third largest sea ice extent on record (2.3 percent above average), behind 2006 (largest) and 2007 (second largest).

Live Science Staff
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