ANALYSIS: After exceptionally cold winters in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, are such Arctic conditions going to be more frequent?
THE YEAR 2010 will be remembered in Ireland as one that began and ended with freezing conditions, burst pipes and widespread water shortages.
Confirming this grim picture, Met Éireann’s climate summaries tell us that the cold spell of January 2010 (beginning in the previous month) was the most extreme in Ireland since 1963, while the November-December cold spells set new records, with air temperatures below -15 C in many places.
A glance at global maps of temperature anomalies shows that the cold winter conditions at the beginning and end of 2010 were not just confined to Ireland, but were experienced over large areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
On the other hand, data just released by Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies tell us that, globally, 2010 was one of the two warmest years in the instrumental record, joining 2005 for this distinction.