2010 headed toward being hottest year on record
By Juliet Eilperin
While the year's not over yet, 2010 is on track to tie 1998 as the hottest one on record.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that the first eight months of 2010 tied the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record worldwide.
Among the details of NOAA's findings: this summer was the second warmest on record globally after 1998, and last month was the third warmest August on record.
The news came on the same day the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Arctic sea ice has appeared to reach its minimum extent, and has followed a 14-year trend of dipping below historic levels. The minimum ice extent--which was reached Sept. 10--was the third-lowest since satellite records began in 1979, after 2007 and 2008,
Arctic sea ice covered 1.84 million square miles on Sept. 10. During August, it covered an average of 2.3 million square miles, which is 22 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the second lowest August extent since satellite record-keeping began in 1979.
Jason Lowe, head of mitigation advice for the U.K.'s Met Office and the lead science adviser on Britain's Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change program, said the latest measurements matter not because they reflect a single year's developments but rather indicate broader climatic changes. Both ocean and land temperatures continue to rise, he noted, just as sea ice and glaciers keep shrinking.
"What we're seeing in that is a long-term, upward trend," Lowe said in an interview. "That hasn't changed."
Juliet Eilperin| September 15, 2010; 4:13 PM ET Save & Share:
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