According to data from the Met Office and University of East Anglia, at 14.5C last year’s mean temperature was 0.5C warmer than the global average 1961-1990. It calculates that only 1998 has been hotter.
In the US, figures from Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest 2010 was the joint warmest year.
And taking all the sets of data into account, the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation has concluded that three years – 2010, 2005 and 1998 – were the joint warmest years.
“The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998,” said WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud. “The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend.”
“The three leading global temperature datasets show that 2010 is clearly warmer than 2009,” said Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office. “They also show that 2010 is the warmest or second warmest year on record.”
Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth said the figures proved that climate change was happening, “despite the efforts of some to claim that global warming is a myth”.
As the world continues to warm experts are predicting more extreme weather patterns, such as recent heavy flooding in Brazil and Australia, he added.