2010 tied for warmest year on record: UN
A cooling centre set up in Metro hall in July of last year. (TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)
GENEVA — Last year tied with 1998 and 2005 for the warmest year on record, providing further evidence that the planet is slowly heating up, the UN weather agency said Thursday.
Arctic Canada took one of the biggest hits, with parts of the region experiencing their hottest years on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Eastern Canada was also “exceptionally” warm in December 2010, the agency wrote in a release.
The agency said average temperatures around the world last year were 0.53 Celsius above the 1961-90 mean.
“The 2010 data confirm the Earth's significant long-term warming trend,” said Michel Jarraud, the agency's top official, adding the 10 warmest years since records began in 1854 have all occurred since 1998.
WMO's figures are based on data collected by Britain's Meteorological Office, the U.S. National Climatic Data Center and NASA.
The recent warming has been especially strong in Africa, western Asia, Greenland and parts of the Arctic, according to the agency.
Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record – 1.3 million square kilometers below the 1979-2000 December average, the agency said.
The weather was a different story in northern and western Europe, as it was “abnormally” cold, the agency said.
Central England experienced its coldest December since 1890, and temperatures in Norway and Sweden were as much as 10 C below normal.
The Geneva-based global weather agency also noted that last year's extreme weather — notably the heat wave in Russia and monsoon flooding in Pakistan — has continued into the new year.
It cited heavy floods in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Brazil and Australia as examples.
With files from Associated Press