Despite Heavy Snowfall, 2010 Was The Warmest Year On Record

January 27, 2011 11:49 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Now that most of the northeast is blanketed in snow, it probably won't be long before conservatives who deny global warming start running victory laps. During the blizzard last February, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and other Republicans claimed that the weather invalidated climate science, despite the fact that the previous month was the warmest January on record. In reality, however, both NASA and the NOAA have determined that 2010 matched the hottest year since scientists started tracking temperatures:

Last year has tied 2005 as the warmest year on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies announced Wednesday.

That conclusion, drawn from analyses of global surface temperatures, means that the decade that just ended included nine of the 10 hottest years on record. [...]

NASA's Goddard Institute conducted an analysis separate from NOAA's but reached the same conclusion

While it's unwise to make scientific proclamations based on a handful of storms, heavy snowfall in the past two winters actually supports climate scientists' belief that global warming will lead to increased precipitation — 2010 was also the wettest year on record — and more extreme storms. As Brad Johnson wrote last year, "Scientists have been warning for years that global warming would increase the severity of winter storms."