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NOAA: 2010 was wettest globally, tied for warmest

The climate stats for 2010 are coming in. Here are the highlights, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You can read the full release here.

GLOBALLY:

Surface Temperature: Combined land and water temperatures averaged 1.12 degrees F above the 20th Century average. Tied with 2005 as the warmest since records began in 1880.

Land temperatures averaged 1.8 degrees F above the 20th C. average, the warmest on record. Ocean surface temperatures averaged 0.88 degrees F. above the average, the third-warmest on record.

The year was also the 34th straight year with global temperatures above the 20th Century average.

Precipitation: Global average precipitation was the most on record, but patterns varied widely across the globe. The Pacific hurricane season was the least active since satellite observations began in the 1960s. The Atlantic season was the third-most-active for tropical storms; the second-most-active for hurricanes.

Storms: A negative Arctic Oscillation last winter sent arctic air south, producing record cold and heavy snows in parts of Eastern North America, Europe and Asia. In February, the AO Index was the largest negative reading since records began in 1950. An unusually strong jet stream twisted north into Russia, and then south into Pakistan, contributing to record summer heat in Russia, and severe flooding in Pakistan. The Russian heat wave was accompanied by forest fires that sent thick smoke in Moscow. (Photo)

CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES:

Surface Temperatures: Surface temperatures in 2010 in the U.S. ranked as the 23rd-warmest on

record, and the 14th straight year averaging above the 20th Century average. Since 1895, surface temperatures have increased at an average rate of 0.12 degrees F per decade.  Twelve states had a record-warm summer (June through August). New York, Philadelphia, Trenton and Wilmington broke summertime records.

Precipitation: The average precipitation in 2010 was 1.02 inches above the long-term average. Since 1895, precipitation rates have increased by an average of 0.18 inches per decade. Seasonal snowfall records were broken in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Atlantic City. Wisconsin had its wettest summer on record.

Storms: The year ranked among the 10 busiest for tornadoes since 1950, with 1,302 recorded. Minnesota had the most for the first time, with 104 confirmed. Increased precipitation helped shrink drought areas to less than 8 percent of the Lower 48 states. Hawaii experienced near-record dryness for most of the year.

(PHOTOS: Top: Natalia Kolensnikova, AFP Getty. Bottom: Sn Photo by Jed Kirschbaum, Feb. 9, 2010)

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