May 19, 2010 / 11:13 AM / 7 years ago

2010 on track to be hottest ever: U.S. climate data

LONDON (Reuters) - This year is on track to be the hottest ever after data published by America's climate agency this week showed record global temperatures in April and the first four months of 2010.

"The combined April global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest on record at 58.1 degrees Fahrenheit (14.5 degrees Celsius), which is 1.37 degrees F (0.76 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 56.7 F (13.7 C)," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a report on its website dated Monday, May 17.

These temperatures surpassed the previous record set in 1998, NOAA added.

The agency said April's global land surface temperatures were the third warmest according to its records, which date back to 1880.

It noted warmer-than-normal conditions in Canada, Alaska, eastern U.S., Australia, South Asia, northern Africa and northern Russia.

"Cooler-than-normal places included Mongolia, Argentina, far eastern Russia, the western contiguous United States and most of China," NOAA said, adding global snow cover was the fourth-lowest on record.

China had its coolest April since 1961, but wettest since 1974, it said.

April was the largest since 2001, they were still below average for the 11th consecutive April as a result of warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures.

NOAA said Arctic ice covered around 5.7 million square miles {14.7 million square kilometers), 2.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent.

The El Nino weather pattern warming the Pacific Ocean weakened in April and is expected to continue through June, NOAA said, echoing a March report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Scientists said El Nino was partly responsible for 2009 being the fifth warmest year on record.

Reporting by Michael Szabo; editing by James Jukwey

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