Global Temperatures Matched Record High Last Year, NOAA Says

Land and ocean temperatures worldwide matched the highest on record last year as heat waves caused droughts and crop prices surged, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Land and ocean temperatures averaged 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average, the NOAA said in a report yesterday. The average temperature from 1901 to 2000 was 57 degrees Fahrenheit, it shows.

Higher temperatures resulted in a drought in Russia, devastating crops and pushing wheat and corn prices to two-year highs. China and South America also suffered from droughts as hot weather caused thousands of deaths, according to the report.

“Several exceptional heat waves occurred during 2010, bringing record-high temperatures and affecting tens of millions of people,” the NOAA said. “The massive heat wave brought Russia its warmest summer (June-August) on record. At least 15,000 deaths in Russia were attributed to the heat.”

The report ranked the top 10 global weather events for the year as voted on by a panel of weather and climate experts. The first-rated event was the Russo-European-Asian heat waves in the Northern Hemisphere summer. The second-ranked event was that 2010 matched the warmest year ever while deadly flooding in Pakistan in July and August was listed as third.