Tuesday, July 27th 2010, 3:09 AM EDT
Thanks to a combination of global warming and an ocean-warming El Niño event, 2010 is set to become one of the hottest years ever recorded, a new report says.
Land and ocean temperatures for the period of January to June were the hottest seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to an analysis released July 15 by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The average temperature for the first half of 2010 was 57.5 degrees Fahrenheit (14.2 degrees Celsius)—about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average.
Nine countries shattered heat records, including Pakistan, which on May 26 logged a mercury reading of 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit (53.5 degrees Celsius)—the highest ever seen in Asia, according to Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground website.
While some regions heated up—such as Asia, Peru, and the eastern U.S.—short-term climate impacts meant other areas saw their coolest temperatures yet.
Southern China's Guizhou Province, for instance, experienced its coolest June on record, the report said.
"It's too early to extrapolate and say it's the hottest" year ever recorded—a title currently held by 2005. But 2010 "will almost certainly be at least the third or fourth warmest on record," said Derek Arndt, head of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
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