The past decade was the warmest on record, according to the latest Earth surface temperature data released by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
NASA said the figures also show that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when scientists first started recording such data. The warmest year was 2005 and the other warmest years have all occurred since 1998, The New York Times reported.
Changes in ocean heating and cooling cycles cause variations in annual global temperatures, but when "we average temperature over 5 or 10 years to minimise that variability we find global warming is continuing unabated," said James E. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
The newly released data show an upward trend of about 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 30 years. Since 1880, there's been an average 0.8 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures, the Times reported. - (HealthDay News, January 2010)