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2010 temperatures: Earth sizzled, Alaska average

Alaska Dispatch

The Earth was hot last year, and we're not talking about political rhetoric or volcanic blasts. Average temperatures over land and sea in 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, according to an analysis posted by the National Climate Data Center. The global temperature was 1.12 degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Land masses contributed the most, setting an all time record, while temperatures over the sea were estimated to be only the third warmest of the past 131 years. The Northern Hemisphere, with most of the planet's land area, experienced record average temperatures about 1.31 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. The Southern Hemisphere, dominated by ocean, was a mite cooler, only the sixth warmest on record. Meanwhile, the Lower 48 United States didn't exactly fan the global heat. Average temperatures in the contiguous United States was about 1 degree Fahrenheit above normal, making 2010 the 23rd warmest year on record. Precipitation was up more than an inch above the long-term average, continuing a decades-long trend of gradual increases in rain and snow. Alaska's 2010 temperatures snuck above its long-term average, but the Last Frontier didn't sizzle, either. The state's average was less than 1 degree Fahrenheit above normal, making 2010 Alaska's 29th warmest since official record-keeping began 93 years ago. Except for November's startling rain, precipitation was near normal too. To check out Alaska data: it's about halfway down this site.