The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that last year was tied as the planet’s hottest on record.
Surface temperatures in 2010 were tied with 2005: both years, up approximately 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit over the 20th century’s average.
Surface temperatures for the Earth’s oceans were also up by 0.88 degrees Fahrenheit in 2010, once again tying with 2005, this time for the third warmest year on record.
The NOAA’s records date back to 1880 and show, they said, a rate of warming in the last 30 years that’s three times what was seen in the century prior.
They also cited the Global Historical Climatology Network, which found that 2010 was also the wettest year on record. They added that the Pacific ocean saw fewer hurricanes than any year since the mid-1960s, while the Atlantic ocean had an “extremely active” year with 19 different named storms.
The agency also found there were 1,302 tornadoes in the US during 2010 and Minnesota got the worst of it with 104 instances confirmed. The year ranks among the 10 worst since records began in 1950.
While the NOAA also cited a longer-than-average growth cycle for arctic sea ice, the north pole shrank to its third smallest size on record during the melting season. Similarly, antarctic sea ice reached its eighth smallest size on record before expanding rapidly in Sept. to its third largest size yet seen.
Scientists say that climate change will gradually lead to more extreme weather patterns and widespread droughts.
Extreme flooding in Australia in 2010 was thought to have been exacerbated in part due to climate change, with waters off Australia hitting their warmest temperatures on record in recent months, according to the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales.