January temperatures (preliminary)
Global composite temp.: +0.72 C (about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for January.
Northern Hemisphere: +0.84 C (about 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for January.
Southern Hemisphere: +0.61 C (about 1.1 degrees Fahreneheit) above 20-year average for January.
December temperatures (revised):
Global Composite: +0.29 C above 20-year average
Northern Hemisphere: +0.33 C above 20-year average
Southern Hemisphere: +0.25 C above 20-year average
(All temperature anomalies are based on a 20-year average (1979-1998) for the month reported.)
Notes on data released Feb. 10, 2010:
A large El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event exposed the atmosphere to enough extra heat energy to cause the warmest January and the third warmest month overall in 32 years, and the warmest month in almost a decade (compared to seasonal norms), according to Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
"This has the potential of breaking the records set in February and April 1998, during the 'El Nino of the Century,'" Christy said. "I looked at sea surface temperatures in the Central Pacific and it wasn't as warm as 1998, but what is there is spread out further than it was in 1998. That exposes the atmosphere to a lot of extra heat."Hottest months in the satellite record
The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a "public" computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.
Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.For Additional Information:
Dr. John Christy | Newswise Science News
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