Getting Hotter, Hotter . . .

It’s official: 2009 tied as the second hottest year on record, according to global temperature data posted today by NASA.

2005 was the hottest year and 2007 tied for second place in the NASA rankings. Overall, the last decade was the hottest ever recorded.

This year’s El Nino, which promises to deliver wild and wet weather to California next week, could make 2010 even warmer. That’s because El Nino events typically bring heat to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, raising the average global temperature.

As noted previously in NEXT100, the continental United States was one of the few places on earth that remained relatively cool last year–so it’s no wonder skeptics about global warming abound here despite a strong scientific consensus. The same pattern repeated in December, bringing chilling cold to much of this country.

Note: not every authority agrees with NASA. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 2009 tied with 2006 as the fifth warmest year on record. But NOAA agrees that the decade as a whole was the warmest.

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