Friday, January 20th 2012, 3:53 PM EST
A strong La Niña lowered the world's average temperature last year to its second-coolest reading of the 2000s, federal scientists announced Thursday.
The release of the two primary climate data sets — from the National Climatic Data Center and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) — both show the Earth as much warmer than average, but not as warm as recent years have been.
The climate center reported that the globe had its 11th-warmest year on record, while NASA marked the year as the ninth-warmest on record. For the most part, the two organizations use the same climate data sources but have slightly different methods of interpreting the data. Climate records go back to 1880.
La Niña is a natural, periodic cooling of tropical Pacific Ocean water that affects weather and climate around the world.
Since 2011 was the second-coolest year of the 2000s, does this mean global warming has slowed?
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