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Embargoed until 08:30 on Tuesday 29 November 2011 - Warm global temperatures continue in 2011

Embargoed until 08:30 on Tuesday 29 November 2011 - Warm global temperatures continue in 2011

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 28 November 2011

This year is set to be the 11th warmest in a record spanning more than 150 years, according to climate scientists from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia.

The global average temperature from HadCRUT3 for January to October 2011 was 14.36°C, 0.36°C above the 1961-1990 long term average.

The latest figures from the HadCRUT3 record uphold those already published by NOAA NCDC and NASA GISS which are all run independently.

2011’s placing near the top of temperature datasets which go back to 1850 continues a long-term warming trend in global climate.

This has seen each successive decade since 1950 warmer than the last, with 2010 being one of the warmest individual years on record.

Peter Stott, Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution at the Met Office, said: “This year we have seen a very persistent and strong La Niña, which brings cooler water to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. This has a global impact on weather and temperatures, and is one of the key reasons why this year does not figure as highly as 2010 in the rankings.

"However, global temperature so far this year is likely higher than it was during the La Niña events in 2008 and 1999–2000 – indicating a continuing warming trend combined with natural variability."

Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said that due to natural variability we do not expect to see each year warmer than the last, but the long-term trend is clear.

"The HadCRUT3 record, supported by the other records, is one indicator amongst several which provide overwhelming evidence that the climate has warmed," he said.

"Independent researchers analysing long term trends of these indicators, have seen an increase in air, sea and land temperatures, rising sea-levels, and decreasing Arctic sea-ice, spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere and glacier extent."

Final figures for the whole of 2011 will be available in March 2012.


Notes to editors:

* The 1961-90 global average mean temperature is 14.0 °C.

* Interannual variations of global surface temperature are strongly affected by the warming influences of El Niño and the cooling influences of La Niña in the Pacific Ocean. These are quite small when compared to the total global warming since 1900 of about 0.8 °C but nevertheless typically reach about +/- 0.10 °C, and can strongly influence individual years.

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