While there’s been a lot of attention given to the recent NOAA and NASA press releases stating that 2010 was tied for the warmest year globally, it didn’t meet that criteria in the USA by a significant margin according the the data directly available to the public from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. (NCDC)
Here’s the graph of USA mean annual temperature from 1895-2010 produced by NCDC’s interactive climate database and graph generator, which you can operate yourself here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html
Here’s the partial table output (you can use their online selector to output your own table) sorted by rank from NCDC web page. 1998 leads, followed by 2006, and then 1934. 2010 is quite a ways down, ranking 94th out of 116.
Climate At A Glance
Year to Date (Jan – Dec) Temperature
Contiguous United States
*Highest temperature rank denotes the hottest year for the period.
Lowest temperature rank denotes the coldest year for the period.
Data used to calculate Contiguous United States mean temperatures are from the USHCN version 2 data set.
Of course there is no mention of the USA temperature ranking in the recent press release from NOAA. The only mention of the USA in that PR that comes close is this:
In the contiguous United States, 2010 was the 14th consecutive year with an annual temperature above the long-term average. Since 1895, the temperature across the nation has increased at an average rate of approximately 0.12 F per decade.
There’s no mention of the 2010 ranking for the USA temperature at all, nor any mention of the fact that 2010 was not nearly as warm as 1998, or 1934. I find that more than a little odd for an agency whose mission is to serve the American people with accurate and representative climate data.
They couldn’t find room for a sentence or two to mention the USA historical temperature rank for 2010? Apparently not.