EXCLUSIVE - 2010 was second hottest year on record - data

LONDON/OSLO Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:56pm IST

The Sun sets behind windsurfers at Blaauwberg beach in Cape Town January 17, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The Sun sets behind windsurfers at Blaauwberg beach in Cape Town January 17, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

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LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) - Last year was the world's second warmest behind 1998 in a temperature record dating back to 1850, adding to evidence of a long-term trend of climate change, data from British institutes showed on Wednesday.

Phil Jones, director of research at Britain's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), told Reuters world surface temperatures in 2010 were about 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) above the average for 1961-1990.

His unit, compiling data with the Met Office Hadley Centre, is one of three main groups worldwide tracking global warming. Last week the other two, based in the United States, said 2010 was tied for the hottest on record.

Jones said the data showed that all but one year in the past decade were among the 10 hottest on record, underlining a warming trend linked to human emissions of greenhouse gases.

"All the years from 2001 to 2010, except 2008, were in the top ten," he said. The U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization compiles a ranking from all three sources.

The fight against global warming suffered a setback in the wake of the financial crisis, slowing funding for renewable energy projects and knocking momentum from efforts to agree a climate deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2013.

The new data appeared to bolster evidence for man-made climate change, after leaked e-mails, including from the CRU, showed climate scientists in 2009 sniping at sceptics. Errors made by a U.N. climate panel also exaggerated the pace of melt of glaciers in the Himalayas.

Last year was 0.498 degrees Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) above the 1961-1990 average, the CRU and Hadley data showed, compared with 1998's 0.517 degree. The nearest year below 2010 was 2005, at 0.474 degree warmer than the long-term average.

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