NOAA data show globally 2011 was the 11th warmest year since 1880

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for all of 2011 show that global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.51°C  above the 20th century average of 13.9°C. This was the 11th warmest since 1880. This marks the 35th consecutive year, since 1976, that the yearly global temperature was above average. Global land surface temperature was the 8th warmest on record, and global ocean surface temperature the 11th warmest ever.  When compared to previous La Niña years, the 2011 global surface temperature was the warmest observed during such a year.  Including 2011, all 11 years in the 21st century so far (2001–2011) rank among the 13 warmest in the 132-year period of record. 

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

December 2011 data

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

State of the Climate.  Global Analysis
Annual 2011

 (extracts from the Dec 2011 report ….)

    • This year tied 1997 as the 11th warmest year since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.51°C  above the 20th century average of 13.9°C. This marks the 35th consecutive year, since 1976, that the yearly global temperature was above average.
    • The warmest years on record were 2010 and 2005, which were 0.64°C  above average.
    • Separately, the 2011 global average land surface temperature was 0.8°C  above the 20th century average of 8.5°C  and ranked as the 8th warmest on record.
    • The 2011 global average ocean temperature was 0.40°C  above the 20th century average of 16.1°C  and ranked as the 11th warmest on record.

 

    • La Niña, which is defined by cooler-than-normal waters in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean that affects weather patterns around the globe, was present during much of 2011. A relatively strong phase of La Niña opened the year, then dissipated in the spring before re-emerging in October and lasting through the end of the year. When compared to previous La Niña years, the 2011 global surface temperature was the warmest observed during such a year.

 

    • The 2011 globally-averaged precipitation over land was the second wettest year on record, behind 2010. Precipitation varied greatly across the globe. La Niña contributed to severe drought in the Horn of Africa and to Australia?s third wettest year in its 112-year period of record.

Global Temperatures

The year 2011 was ….. the 35th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above the 20th century average.

 Including 2011, all 11 years in the 21st century so far (2001–2011) rank among the 13 warmest in the 132-year period of record.  Only one year during the 20th century, 1998, was warmer than 2011.

21st Century (2001–2011) Annual Temperature Ranks

The following table list the global combined land and ocean annually-averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the years to date in the 21st century.

21st Century
Year
Rank
1 = Warmest
Period of Record: 1880–2011
Anomaly °C Anomaly °F
2011 11 0.51 0.92
2010 1 (tie) 0.64 1.15
2009 7 (tie) 0.58 1.04
2008 13 0.50 0.90
2007 7 (tie) 0.58 1.04
2006 6 0.59 1.06
2005 1 (tie) 0.64 1.15
2004 9 0.56 1.01
2003 4 0.61 1.10
2002 5 0.60 1.08
2001 10 0.54 0.97

 

Two separate cool-phase La Niña events took place in 2011, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC). These events affected weather patterns in many parts of the world during the year and dampened the global temperature compared with the record warmth of the previous year, 2010 (which is tied for warmest with 2005). The coolest monthly global anomalies occurred during the beginning of the year, where both January and February each ranked as 17th warmest for their respective months. Monthly temperature anomalies increased as the La Niña episode waned and ENSO-neutral conditions emerged during May.

June and July ranked as the 7th warmest for their respective months while August and September each ranked 8th warmest.  La Niña conditions returned in October and moderately strengthened during the remainder of the year. Global monthly temperature anomalies during this period cooled compared to those during the middle of the year.

With CPC ENSO records dating back to 1950, 2011 ranked as the warmest “La Niña year” in the 1950–2011 period of record.

Two of the three warmest years on record (2010 and 1998) are “El Niño years”. A La Niña (El Niño) year is defined here as occurring when the first three months of a calendar year meet the La Niña (El Niño) criteria as defined by the CPC.

Temperature anomalies color coded to show El Niño and La Niña years
Global Annual Temperature Anomalies

It was also the warmest annual global temperature over land during a La Niña year.

Top Ten Global Weather/Climate Events for 2011

The following table list the top ten global weather/climate events of 2011. These events are listed according to their overall rank, as voted on by a panel of weather/climate experts. For additional information on these and other significant 2011 climate events, please visit NCDC’sTop Ten Global Events webpage.

Rank Event When Occurred
1 East Africa Drought Ongoing
2 Thailand Flooding July–October
3 Eastern Australia Flooding December 2010–February 2011
Austral Summer
4 Consecutive La Niña Events Throughout 2011
5 Brazil Flash Floods January 6th–12th
6 Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) December 16th–17th
7 Arctic Sea Ice Extent Throughout 2011
8 Colombia Rainfall March–May
9 Mexico Drought Throughout 2011
10 European Drought September–November

 

Regional Temperatures

Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred during 2011 for most of the world’s surface. The greatest above-average annual temperature anomalies occurred across the Northern Hemisphere high latitude land areas, particularly central and northern Russia, Scandinavia, and Canada. Also noteworthy, it was warmer than average across the eastern half of the United States, Mexico, most of Europe and Africa, and the north central Pacific Ocean. Temperatures were below normal across the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, west central North America, and north and central Australia.

January–December 2011 Land Surface Temperature Anomalies in degree Celsius
January–December 2011 Land Surface Temperature
Anomalies in degrees Celsius
January–December 2011 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in degrees Celsius
January–December 2011 Blended Land and Sea
Surface Temperature Anomalies in degrees Celsius

 

The map, above top, is created using data from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), a network of more than 7,000 land surface observing stations. Temperature anomalies are with respect to the 1961–1990 average. The map, above right, is a product of a merged land surface and sea surface temperature anomaly analysis developed by Smith et. al (2008). For the merged land surface and SST analysis, temperature anomalies with respect to the 1971–2000 average for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC’s Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

A natural hemispheric-scale climate pattern called the Arctic Oscillation (AO) can be a dominating driver of winter temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. Its effects were particularly felt during January, when the AO was strongly negative. A negative AO is associated with cold polar air that spills southward into the mid-latitudes from the Arctic region and warm air that advects northward.

Due at least in part to this pattern, the contiguous United States reported its coolest January since 1994. December 2010 was also slightly below average, helping to bring the United States its second cooler-than-normal winter (December–February) in a row. In China, 2011 was also off to a cold start. It was the coolest January, behind 1977, since records began in 1961. In Europe, the UK reported its second coolest winter (behind 2009/10) since 1985/86.

Conversely, in the higher northern latitudes, Canada reported its sixth warmest winter since national records began in 1948. The warmest winter occurred the previous year (2009/10). Most of the above-normal temperatures occurred in the northern half of the country. Temperatures were more than 4°C (7°F) above normal for large areas of Nunavut, northern Quebec, and Labrador. The negative-phase AO contributed to these warm northern temperatures.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the summer (December 2010–February 2011) was Australia’scoolest since 2001. These cooler temperatures can be attributed in part to the ongoing La Niña event. Cool conditions, in association with increased cloudiness and above-average rainfall, continued across Australia into March as nationally-averaged March daytime temperatures ranked as the coolest March on record. With cool conditions persisting into April and May, Australia had its coolest autumn (March–May) on record.

Parts of Western Europe reported record or near-record warmth during April. Germany experienced its second warmest April since national records began in 1881, behind April 2009, with the average nationwide temperature almost 4.4°C (7.9°F) above average.

It was the warmest April on record across the United Kingdom, with temperatures 3°C to 5°C (5°F to 9°F) above normal in many areas, breaking the previous record set in 2007 by 0.5°C (0.9°F). This warmth also contributed to the UK’s warmest spring on record (tied with 2007).

Spain experienced its third warmest May on record, behind 1964 and 2006. But in Australia, the effects of La Niña continued. Cool weather brought the country its seventh coolest May on record and it’s coolest May since 2000, at 1.33°C (2.39°F) below averageIn contrast to Australia, New Zealand reported its warmest May since records began in 1909, with the temperature 2.2°C (4.0°F) above the monthly average. New Zealand also had its third warmest June on record, with the temperature 1.5°C (2.7°F) above the monthly average. .

Summer was warm across China. June 2011 was the second warmest June for the country since records began in 1951, July was the seventh warmest, and August was the fourth warmest on record.

In July, with ENSO-neutral conditions in place, maximum temperatures were above normal for all states and territories in Australia for the first month since April 2010. La Niña conditions during 2010/11 kept temperatures below normal across most of the country for more than a year.

The UK had its coolest average monthly July temperature since 2000. The average minimum temperature was the coolest since July 1980. Spain had its coolest July since 2002, although the temperature was only 0.1°C (0.2°F) below the 1971–2000 average. The cooler-than-average temperatures continued into August in some regions. Scotland and Northern Ireland had their coolest average monthly August temperatures since 1993.

In Western Europe, the UK reported its second warmest year on record, behind 2006. The UK Met Office also reported that the UK’s 7 warmest years have all occurred within the past decade.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

….and there  is a lot more information at the above website ….