WMO: 2010 warmest, but no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998

See below for an interview from Dr. Bob Carter.

Press Release No. 906

For use of the information media

Not an official record

2010 equals record for world’s warmest year

Geneva, 20 January 2011 (WMO) – The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Data received by the WMO show no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998.

In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean. This value is 0.01°C (0.02°F) above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02°C (0.05°F) above 1998. The difference between the three years is less than the margin of uncertainty (± 0.09°C or ± 0.16°F) in comparing the data.

These statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres, 1.35 million square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December. This follows the third-lowest minimum ice extent recorded in September.

“The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.”

Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C (0.83°F)   above the 1961-1990 average, and are the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since the beginning of instrumental climate records. Recent warming has been especially strong in Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of the Arctic, with many subregions registering temperatures 1.2 to 1.4°C (2.2 to 2.5°F) above the long-term average.

2010 was an exceptionally warm year over much of Africa and southern and western Asia, and in Greenland and Arctic Canada, with many parts of these regions having their hottest years on record.

Over land few parts of the world were significantly cooler than average in 2010, the most notable being parts of northern Europe and central and eastern Australia.

December 2010 was exceptionally warm in eastern Canada and Greenland. It was abnormally cold through large parts of northern and western Europe, with monthly mean temperatures as much as 10°C below normal at some locations in Norway and Sweden. Many places in Scandinavia had their coldest December on record.  December in Central England was the coldest since 1890. Heavy snowfalls severely disrupted transport in many parts of Europe. It was also colder than average in large parts of the Russian Federation and in the eastern United States, where snow also severely disrupted transport.

Recent significant weather and climate events

The year 2010 was characterized by a high number of extreme weather events, including the heatwave in Russia and the devastating monsoonal floods in Pakistan. These were described in WMO’s provisional statement on the status of the global climate issued December 2010 (http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_904_en.html)

There have been many major weather and climate events in late 2010 and early 2011. These include:

  • In early January floods affected more than 800 000 people in Sri Lanka according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Philippines were also severely affected by floods and mudslides during January.
  • Flash floods in the mountain areas near the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in the second week of January resulted in more than 700 deaths, many of them in mudslides. This is one of the highest death tolls due to a single natural disaster in Brazilian history.
  • Severe flooding occurred in eastern Australia in December and the first half of January, associated with the continuing strong La Niña event.  The most extensive damage was in the city of Brisbane, which had its second-highest flood of the last 100 years after that of January 1974. In financial terms it is expected to be the most costly natural disaster in Australia’s history. Previous strong La Niña events have also been associated with severe and widespread flooding in eastern Australia, notably in 1974 and 1955.

Notes to Editors:

Background to data used in this statement

The information for 2010 is based on climate data from networks of land-based weather and climate stations, ships and buoys, as well as satellites. The data are continuously collected and disseminated by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of the 189 Members of WMO and several collaborating research institutions. The data continuously feed three main depository global climate data and analysis centres, which develop and maintain homogeneous global climate datasets based on peer-reviewed methodologies. The WMO global temperature analysis is thus principally based on three complementary datasets. One is the combined dataset maintained by both the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. Another dataset is maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the United States Department of Commerce, and the third one is from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The updated data complements the Provisional Statement on the Status of the Global Climate 2010 published by WMO on 3 Dec. 2010 (http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_904_en.html).

The final Statement will be published in March 2011.


WMO website: www.wmo.int

h/t to WUWT reader GeorgeGr


Via Tom Nelson, from an interview today on Australian radio AM-2010:

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: He also noted that last year was characterised by a number of extreme weather events like the heatwave in Russia and the floods in Pakistan.

MICHEL JARRAUD: With the global warming, some of these events will become more frequent, or more intense. So let me take for example, the Russian heat wave. You cannot say uniquely it’s due to global warming, but what you can say is that what is right now totally exceptional will happen more frequently in the future.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Geologist Bob Carter from James Cook University says Mr Jerraud has no evidence for that.

BOB CARTER: Lots of scientists have been looking for that evidence but to date there is nothing in the scientific literature which says we have more climatic emergency events at the moment than in the past or that these are more frequent or more dangerous. There is no scientific evidence for that.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Carter says it’s not surprising that last year was one of the warmest, but says that doesn’t mean greenhouse gases are the blame.

Dr. BOB CARTER: The question is not whether it causes warming, the question is how much warming? Since 1998 we’ve had three warm years – 1998, 2005 and 2010 – and each of those years is associated with an El Nino event which causes or is related to the warming. Okay, but there’s no trend, 2010 is not significantly warmer in any way than 1998.

So we have a warm period over a period of 12 years. Over those same 12 years we have a five per cent increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is supposed to cause more warming. Well this data that we’ve just discussed tells you that human carbon dioxide emissions are not causing dangerous global warming, indeed they’re not causing any warming at all at the moment.


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So is the heat of 2010 the result of new trapped heat fresh from Sol or fossil heat released from the oceans, passing through the atmosphere, and now headed for the black void of space? If the latter then it’s going to be a cold 2011. If the former, why did it happen? CO2 levels over 2009 are not that much changed.

David L

Rather than saying it’s a third tied record going back to 1998, why not say the warming trend has leveled off? Further proof of the leveling-off is many parts of the world have experienced record cold.


OK – and this means what exactly? It’s cold as hell (oh wait – weather doesn’t equal climate or whateva – except when it ‘does’) here – I’ve been keeping my own records & it’s not tracking along with this this alarmist BS.
Once again – reality is ignored. Love it.
Gotta toss another CO2 emitting log on the fire.


Interesting that all the exceptionally warm regions are those with little monitoring, whereas the exceptionally cold areas are the ones with lots of weather stations…

Baa Humbug

So we have data released by ‘data destroyers’, ‘data distorters’, and ‘data hiders’ and I’m supposed to believe anything this data tells me?
No thanks, find another sucker to sell your bridge to.

el gordo

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Carter says the last 150 years have been among the coolest in the past 10,000 years of the Earth’s history.
That should get their attention!
The other important point, we are surprised the ABC newsroom is showing reasonable balance. On second thoughts, not so surprising in the light of a possible defamation case involving two leading lights in the debate, which has also embroiled the ABC.

Layne Blanchard

Why not point out that neither 1998, 2005, or 2010 was TRULY known to be warmer than the 30’s? The entire discussion is bubkus.


Is the UAH satellite temp for Dec 2010 to be released soon?


As a chartist I would say that it looks like a “head and shoulders top” – go long woollen underwear.

Crispin in Waterloo

To review, we have had 30 years of cooling (1945-1975), then 20 years of warming (1975-1995), then 15 years of stasis (1995-2010) with more cooling on the horizon.
Is there any controversey about this? If the surface stations are fixed up and properly observed, there may be a decline here and there.
OK. Now, how does this in any way relate to CO2 rapidly forcing up global temperatures in an accelerated fashion over this same time period. It is not there, is it? No.
In 2008 http://www.aps.org/units/nes/newsletters/fall09.cfm we have a letter from Patrick Frank pointing out that the claims about temperature anomalies exceed the physics claimed to support them.
“WG1 Chapter 8 Supplemental Figures S8.5 and S8.14, among other figures, show model errors far greater than the ~2.7 W/m2 GHG forcing the same models are purported to detect.”
It is not as if there is a special branch of physics for the climate that evades scientific norms. There is a clear difference between precision and accuracy.
Why then all the excitement?

R. de Haan

In the previous posting from Patrick Frank, Palo Alto, CA
It was concluded that:
“The rate and magnitude of 20th century warming are thus unknowable, and suggestions of an unprecedented trend in 20th century global air temperature are unsustainable”.
We have spend endless time and effort to discuss the forcing of CO2 in our climate system but we can’t find any any evidence for that.
The Global Warming Doctrine, the illusion of pending climate disaster, saw the light in Germany for the first time in 1986, during a dramatic press conference organized by the German Physics Society. Now 25 years later, 25 UN Climate Conferences with nothing to show for and billions of dollars of wasted tax funding, we are still waiting for the announced climate disaster to strike. The Climate armageddon of unprecedented rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting ice caps, super storms, expanding deserts, collapsing eco systems and mass migration of climate refugees only exists in the UN climate propaganda pushed by our MSM and the faulty climate models from a few activist scientists, see ClimateGate and WUWT. In the real world our ice caps are doing fine, ocean levels are slightly sinking, temperatures are normal since 1880, we still have our winters, accumulated cyclonic energy is low, deserts have not expanded and we haven’t seen any climate refugees from collapsing eco systems other than those driven from their lands to make place for palm oil farms.
The unbiased science says ZERO, the propaganda says UNPRECEDENTED.
The concept of Anthropogenic Global Warming caused by the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels is less than a storm in a glass of water.
We are waiting for 25 years now for the climate armageddon to strike and we’re still waiting.
Maybe it’s time to sew the German Physical Society.

Mike Jowsey

LOL – you have become my Facebook quote of the week.



Beth Cooper

Baa Humbug is on the money;-)


I’m not clear, are these three datasets “homogenised” or raw data?

Dan Cummings

Given that we can’t trust their means of measurement, especially as compared to historic locations and means of measurement, given that measurement locations have been invented, wildly off-base measurements have been trotted out in past (Lake Michigan at hundreds of degrees), and measurements are more likely taken terrestrially near built-up areas rather free from interference in the wide open, I find it hard to accept any of their pronouncements any more. If satellites were used we’ll find out about calibration issues, compensatory algorithims, or not. And we can’t double-check because they own the satellites. It’s not been warm where I live in Canada on northeastern edge of Lake Ontario, it’s not been warm in southern U.S. (49 of 50 states had snow last week), and reports indicate it’s been pretty cold throughout Europe. La Nina’s cold ocean waters are causing rain and floods in Brazil and Australia, and no useful explanation of the La Nina/El Nino oscillation phenomenon appears to be extant. Is the earth’s core cooling? Is there any relationship to the movement of the magnetic north pole (showing the earth’s insides may be moving in a differnt direction to its surface)? Are earthquakes/volcanic activity accelerating? Or are we just able to measure and monitor different things differently enough to get worried?

Haralds R.

In my opinion one of the most reliable measure of global atmospheric temperature is sea level. Easy to measure. Hard to manipulate. Inert to short scale atmospheric processes. The global temperature is interesting when it is used in conjunction with other global phenomena (large scale athmosferic/ocean circulation patterns, …). Global temperature is of minor importance in terms of local climate. And on local climate have minor impact on global climate.
Since in Arctic region is very few stations then we can’t not judge about arctic climate as whole.

Peter Plail

It’s good to know that the increase in CO2 is having so little effect on global temperatures.
It is also interesting to note that the severe temperatures in summer over Russia (I am assuming this is the Western Asia high temperature that is mentioned in the article) was an artefact of weather not climate so is likely to have skewed the result.

Pete H

WMO…..= Hottest
M.O. …..= Coldest!!!!!!!!! Hey! Do not blame me! It our Louise cutting and pasting again!


“tokyoboy says:
January 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm
Is the UAH satellite temp for Dec 2010 to be released soon?”

Oh, boy! That was the first to released!

[ I WILL NOT approve any posts containing vulgar abusive personal attacks. NONE. .. bl57~mod]
[me either . . b.mod]
[ Nor I. ModE.]


Cherry picking one month of arctic sea ice cover:
“The trend also helped to melt Arctic sea ice cover to a record low for December last month, the WMO said in a statement.”
Arctic sea ice at low as 2010 the warmest year on record: UN

John Marshall

NCDC said that 2010 was cooler than 1998 by some margin. Have they changed their tune?
I find it amazing that a so called anomaly of 0.53C is held to be significant when temperature measurement is such a precarious affair. On average, somewhere on earth, there will be a high of +50C and a low of -80C and these are not extremes of those measured. To get and average of anything when all surfaces are not actually measured at the same time, which does not happen even with satellite data collection, will not produce any meaningful figure.
Sorry but reliance on these nefarious figures as proof of AGW is not science.


If you record temperatures with an accuracy of 0.5C normally and 0.2C at best, how can you report an average temperature for the entire planet to 0.01C? The figures quoted by the WMO are are pretty meaningless when you take into account the usual definitions of accuracy and precision in scientific measurement. The same goes for things such as sea level. Do you honestly believe that you can measure the trend in global sea levels to the nearest 0.1mm, the thickness of 1 sheet of paper?
GIGWO – Garbage In Global Warming Out.

The studies I collected show that if you look at rural temperature records, there is strong evidence of no significant warming at all over the last century – where there is warming, it is all easily within natural limits. Recent rises just fall away like that loss of excess belly fat we see advertised everywhere.

tony s

IPCC says accelerated warming from 1976-2000 of 0.17C/decade – Statistically significant.
IPCC models project warming from 2001 of 0.2C/decade – Statistically significant.
The warmest decade on record – Statistically significant.
Hadcrut 2001-2010 NEGATIVE trend – Not significant?


Statistical significance argument assumes that temperature follows certain “true” non-random process deviations from which are normally distributed. Although there are some observable trends, the non-random component of the temperature process is poorly understood and there is no factual basis in the normality of deviations.


Why do you all on either side keep debating this moot point? Actual T-H-E-R-M-O-M-E-T-E-R records exist back to 350 years. They do not show “Global Warming” except as a natural linear trend. Earth to political minded dorks: you are arguing about the weather!!! Just post this graph and go home. Make babies. Wait for China to make a mistake or two. Learn to cook new dishes. Buy a new backpack. Read an old book. A dusty old book.


Tony s
Sorry but you have not kept up with scientific evidence.
There is a 60 plus cycle that has gone through global temperature indexes (NCDC for example) from 1878. The period 1976-2000 coincides with the upswing.
Naturally it is significant – but that just indicates that the cycle is real but says nothing about the long term trend.
When you allow for UHI and uncertainties then there is nothing left – NO long term trend.
And model projections are just the projections of models.
They are not scientific evidence.

2010 ‘2nd warmest year’ claim is delusional, irrelevant & disingenuous. See http://bit.ly/ik4BCf where we also warn of more extreme events coming. Thanks Piers

David L

NikFromNYC says:
January 21, 2011 at 2:13 am
Why do you all on either side keep debating this moot point? Actual T-H-E-R-M-O-M-E-T-E-R records exist back to 350 years. They do not show “Global Warming” except as a natural linear trend. …”
Here’s what they will say: the historical record is only very limited local trends. We are talking about global climate, so we need global range of temperatures.
But what is global climate? It actually doesn’t exist. The globe is made up of various regions of climates that have changed over millions of years. The Sahara wad not always a desert for example. So to talk about a global climate as a single averaged temperature over an incomplete range of regions around the earth is quite meaningless.

If you look at the last 150 years (say), and regard the satellite LT temperature as being the best currently-available measure of global temperature, then the satellite record from RSS http://www.remss.com/data/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_2.txt shows that 2010 was ranked between 2nd-warmest and 120th warmest.
1998 0.551
2010 0.510
2005 0.375
another 29 years were shown to be cooler, and a further 118 are unknown.


From RealClimate depot:
“For example, look at the rapid response 1990-1993
A fall of nearly 1C over 3 years.
How can there be a large inertial effect, and still have such a drop?
[Response: The drop was more like 0.5 deg C, and was related to an enormous forcing (-3 to -4 W/m2) related to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. If there hadn’t been any damping, the temperature response would have been much, much larger. – gavin]”
Comment 20 Jan 2011 @ 11:44 AM
So we add the o.5 deg C from the Pinatubo and see; there has been no warming from 1990 (thank you again gavin)

Bernard J.

Of course (and this is probably lost on the many folk here who demonstrate statistical innumeracy), one of the corollaries to this thread is that there is most definitely no cooling since 1998. Can we now formally and officially accept that this is the case?
And as an aside, I’d be curious to know what people here think what the import would be of a statistically significantly warmer annual global temperature than 2010, in the next, say, 3 to 5 years.

Alex the skeptic

It is official now that 2010 was the tenth coldest ever in the UK. In Ozzie it was the coldest year since 2001. In many other countries, record low temepratures have been recorded in many towns and cities, but we keep hearing that 2010 was the warmest on record.
Is this a record in being the most blatant lie ever?

Sun-Earth temperature time lag?
A little off-topic, but I am answering a comment in my blog (http://agbjarn.blog.is) and need references to some literature regarding Sun-Earth temperature time lag.
I stated that the time lag between variations in the Sun and Earth´s temperature is in the range 5-10 years.
A reader states that this is wrong. “The time lag is 2-3 months, not 5-10 years” he wrote.
Does you have reference to some article etc. where I can find some information…
What is the time lag?


NikFromNYC says:
January 21, 2011 at 2:13 am
Why do you all on either side keep debating this moot point?
Nik, from your link of the oldest record, central England.
It’s obvious that every short trend of rising temps, was immediately followed by temps crashing, and the lowest winter temps of all time.
Has anyone else noticed that the different organizations that compile temps, can not agree on this years temp?
Which means, if they can’t even accurately measure or agree on this years temps…
…there’s no way they can measure temps 50 years ago

Canadian Mike

I too find it more than curious that warming is highly concentrated in areas that are mostly uninhabited and poorly measured while cooling shows up in places with accurate measurements and instrument redundancy.
Just an amazing coincidence I guess.


Bernard J. says:
January 21, 2011 at 5:20 am
“Of course (and this is probably lost on the many folk here who demonstrate statistical innumeracy), one of the corollaries to this thread is that there is most definitely no cooling since 1998. Can we now formally and officially accept that this is the case?”
Yes, we can formally and officially accept that since 1998 it was no warming and no cooling. It is the AGW theory that predicts warming correlated with CO2 increase, do you remember? CO2 increased, temperatures didn’t. We officially accept this.
“And as an aside, I’d be curious to know what people here think what the import would be of a statistically significantly warmer annual global temperature than 2010, in the next, say, 3 to 5 years.”
If 2011 is significantly cooler than 2010 then AGW theory is finished for any practical purposes because political and financial support will evaporate. Therefore, in this case, a statistically significantly warmer annual global temperature than 2010, in the next, say, 3 to 5 years will just revive the debate. 2011 is crucial for AGW theory from a practical point of view, it must be as warm as 2010 or just slightly cooler.


Funny how most of the positive anomalies they cited occured in regions few to no reporting stations. Most of these empty grid squares contained temps extraploated from the few urban stations that surround them. Perhaps it is also time to use a different time period in which to measure the “mean”. Some can argue that the 1961-1990 period is too “cool”. Why not use, say 1976-2005? In that event. the record anomalies would shift to earlier years.
In any event, using surface stations is a waste of time. Many posters here have argued convincingly that the surface records are of no use due to land use problems, urbanization, station continuity, and a general lack of quality control.

Status on temperature trends – And uh oh…
What happens if we roughly simulate a La Nina lik2 the 1999-2001 now on temperature trends..?
K.R. Frank


Recent significant weather and climate events,
The most extensive damage was in the city of Brisbane, which had its second-highest flood of the last 100 years after that of January 1974. In financial terms it is expected to be the most costly natural disaster in Australia’s history.
Of course it will be the most expensive, that`s called urban growth over 100 years.
The second highest in 100 years after 1974, which puts 1996 the highest after 1974 which puts this flood the third highest in 100 years which means that flooding since 1974 has been LOWER over the past 36 years. 1974 as can be seen from links below was similar to 1841.
Why not say third highest in 100 years.
1996 flood levels at gauges on the Brisbane River downstream of Lowood during this event were the highest recorded since January 1974. They were however well under flood levels recorded during January 1974.
It`s all happened before and it`s natural.


NikFromNYC says:
Now that’s what we need to see – a bunch of long term graphs of sites all over the world. Can somebody add a few more sites, and line them all up with the same scale, and plot CO2 level as well?

Canadian Mike says: “I too find it more than curious that warming is highly concentrated in areas that are mostly uninhabited and poorly measured while cooling shows up in places with accurate measurements and instrument redundancy.
Just an amazing coincidence I guess.

Maybe not coincidence. Maybe these areas are uninhabited because they are extremely cold, and changing weather patterns brought warmer air or ocean currents in from lower latitudes, thus giving those areas a disproportionately high increase in temperature. [NB. that’s a ‘maybe’ – other explanations are of course possible]. But the change was not to bright red hot like the anomaly maps show, it was from totally uninhabitably freezing to just uninhabitably freezing.
Now the weather patterns have, apparently, changed back, we should see disproportionate cooling in those areas.


Good discussion.
Can someone please show a list of land stations used to collect land measurements for Canada? I am curious about the “new record” for Canada. Large tracts of western Canada were well below average almost all of last year. We’ve been lead to believe that “the authorities” use one or two land wx stations for all of the Arctic and that they use perhaps 20 stations for the rest of Canada.
So if someone has a list of the official land stations used for Canada can you please post them here? I’d sure appreciate it. Or we could email perhaps. Please advise. Many thanks.


It seems that now all the thermometers have migrated to airport tarmacs, and that corrections for time of observation, inverse UHI, and festering rodent droppings have run to the very edge of plausibility, and so we have temperature stasis.
My guess is the next chapter in all this will be to move the thermometers out into the middle of the runways (after all the pilots need to know the exact temperature in order to take off most efficiently not generating excess CO2), and to buy new, vastly more capable (and expensive) computers to crank out the new skyrocketing “global temperature calculations.” Trenberth will be able to exult: “NOW we know where all the warming went!”

JRR Canada

Clive Environment Canada Website did have that info, have not looked recently, but after their answer to the Pembinia Institute access to info request, wrt quality of station data they should display a disclaimer on every page. “This data suffers from known and errors.” WUWT covered this fall 2010 Funnily enough EC is a huge pusher of CAWG yet their own data casts doubt. Govt I guess, collect and never read.
Otherwise Musing from the Chiefio covered this last year, arround April I think, if you ask nicely E.M will probably tell you where to look.

Werner Brozek

Thank you very much for a fantastic set of graphs Frank Lansner!!
They certainly prove global warming is not accelerating at the moment.
A set of graphs from 2002 in 6 months from now should look very interesting.

JRR Canada

rats..known and uncorrected errors..