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2010 Set to Become the Hottest Year On Record May 21, 2010
Global temperature plot
Only parts of southern Siberia, Mongolia and China were significantly cooler than normal in April.
This year is unfolding as the hottest ever with both the April and the entire January-April periods ranking the warmest on record.

Analysis by the U.S. agency NOAA confirms earlier predictions that the year could turn out to be the warmest since reliable instrumental temperatures records began in the late 1800s.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature average for April was 58.1 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.35 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.

The same coverage from January through April was 1.24 degrees above the average of the past century.

The previous record warmest year was 1998, and early indications are that 2010 will be warmer still.

Despite a bitterly cold and snowy December and early January in the eastern U.S. and Canada, satellite analysis reveals that the extent of snow cover in North America was the smallest for any April since satellite records began in 1967.

A statement from NOAA said that warmer-than-normal conditions “dominated the globe, with the most prominent warmth in Canada, Alaska, the eastern United States, Australia, South Asia, northern Africa and northern Russia.”

Image: NOAA