Global Climate Report - Annual 2010
2010 Global Top 10 Weather/Climate Events

« Global Climate Report - Annual 2010

2010 Global Top 10 Weather/Climate Events

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2010 Global Top Ten List

Rank Event When Occurred Event Description More Information
1 Russian - European - Asian Heat Waves Summer A severe summer spawned drought, wildfires and crop failures across western Russia, where more than 15,000 people died. All-time high temperatures occurred in many cities and nations in the region. China faced locust swarms during July. NCDC Global Hazards
2 2010 as [near] warmest year on record calendar year According to NOAA, the globally-averaged temperature for 2010 will finish among the two warmest, and likely the warmest, on record. Three months in 2010 were the warmest on record for that month. NCDC Global Report
3 Pakistani Flooding Late July - August Rainfall related to the Asian Monsoon was displaced unusually westward, and more than a foot of rain fell across a large area of the Upper Indus Valley. Subsequent flooding down the Indus River killed 1,600 people and displaced millions. NCDC Global Hazards, NASA Imagery
4 El Niño to La Niña Transition Mid-to-Late Boreal Spring ENSO, the most prominent and far-reaching patterns of climate variability, saw a huge swing in mid-2010. Only 1973, 1983 and 1998 have seen larger within-year swings. CPC, NCDC ENSO
5 Negative Arctic Oscillation Early 2010 The AO Index, which is strongly correlated with wintertime cold air outbreaks, reached -4.27 for February, the largest negative anomaly since records began in 1950. Major cold air outbreaks occurred throughout the Northern Hemisphere. NCDC Cold Season Report
6 Brazilian Drought Ongoing A severe drought parching northern Brazil shrunk the Rio Negro, one of the Amazon River's most important tributaries, to its lowest level since records began in 1902 at its confluence with the Amazon. The Amazon's depth there fell more than 12 feet below its average. NCDC Global Hazards
7-tie Historically Inactive NE Pacific Hurricane Season May 15 - Nov 30 The Northeast Pacific Hurricane Season was one of the least active on record, produced the fewest named storms and hurricanes of the modern era, and had the earliest cessation of tropical activity (Sep 23) on record. NCDC Hurricane Summary
7-tie Historic N. Hemispheric Snow Retreat January - June Despite December 2009 having the second-largest snow cover extent of the satellite record (mid-1960s), the melt season was ferocious, contributing to spring floods in the Northern U.S. and Canada. Following the early and pronounced snow melt, the North American, Eurasian and Hemispheric snow cover was the smallest on record for May and June 2010. NCDC 2010 Global Snow Report
9 Minimum Sea Ice Extent mid-September The 2010 sea ice minimum of 4.9 million sq km was the third smallest on record. The last four years (2007-2010) are the four smallest on record. The Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route were simultaneously ice-free in September, a first in modern history. NCDC Sea Ice
10 China Drought First Half of 2010 A persistent drought centered in the Yunan Province was touted as perhaps the worst in this region in more than 100 years. Major crop losses and lack of drinking water created severe problems for local residents. NCDC Global Hazards

2010 Global Honorable Mention

Event When Occurred Event Description More Information
China Floods Early Aug Two separate heavy rainfall events in early August killed 1,500+ people across northeastern and northwestern China. Heavy rainfall continued in northeastern China (and North Korea), leading to China's worst flooding in more than a decade. NCDC Global Hazards
Large Iceberg Breaks off Petermann Glacier August 5 A piece of ice measuring approximately 250 sq km (97 sq mi, roughly four times the size of Manhattan Island) broke off of the floating ice shelf portion of the Petermann Glacier. The iceberg is the largest in the Arctic in nearly 50 years (1962). NCDC Global Hazards
Igor & Julia Simultaneous Category 4 Hurricanes September 15 Julia strengthened to a Category 4 Hurricane on Sep 15th and joined Igor, which had been Category 4 for several days, as the first Category 4 tandem observed in the Atlantic since 1926. Julia was also the easternmost Category 4 on record. NCDC Global Hazards, NCDC Hurricanes
Super Typhoon Megi Oct 12-24 Megi's central pressure of 885 mb made it the strongest tropical cyclone of 2010 and one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded in any basin. It made one of the costliest landfalls in Filipino history and killed at least 69 people. NCDC Global Hazards, NCDC Hurricanes
Coral Reef Bleaching NH Spring -Summer A combination of long-term warming and the transient influence of ENSO contributed to several large bleaching events, in the Pacific's "Coral Triangle" and the southern Caribbean and tropical Atlantic NCDC Global Hazards
Cyclone Phet Early June Forming in very late May, Phet became the second-strongest Arabian Sea Cyclone on record, reaching Category 4 status. NCDC Global Hazards, NCDC Hurricanes
Bangladesh Driest Monsoon Season since 1994 Warm Season Despite late-season flooding and torrential rains, Bangladesh experienced its driest monsoon in 16 years. NCDC Global Hazards
Hurricane Celia Jun 19-28 Celia was only the second Category 5 hurricane ever recorded for the East Pacific Ocean during the month of June. NCDC Hurricanes
Summer Snow in Australia Jan 18 After experiencing 100°F+ temperatures in the region during the previous week, parts of New South Wales saw accumulating snowfall. The snow in Bombala was the first summer snow since 1965. NCDC Global Hazards
Atlantic Cyclone Xynthia Feb 27 An unusually powerful cyclone traversed western Europe bringing hurricane force winds and causing more than 60 fatalities. NCDC Global Hazards
European Cold Snap & Winter Storm Early Jan This prolonged and severe episode brought cold and snow to a wide area of Europe. 59 inches of snow fell in Leszno, Poland, leaving 150+ people dead and 200,000 without power. Many airport closures occurred across the continent. UK experienced its longest cold snap since 1981. Snow occurred in Seville, Spain for first time in 50 years. NCDC Global Hazards
South American Cold Snap July Frigid Antarctic air gripped nearly all of S. America south of 10°S. Buenos Aires had its lowest temperature in a decade, while Lima saw its coldest in 46 years. Hundreds of people and 10% of mountain alpacas succumbed to the cold. NCDC Global Hazards
Extreme Winter Weather in Europe** Most of December Cold Arctic air gripped western Europe during most of the first three weeks of December. Two major snowstorms, icy conditions, and frigid temperatures wreaked havoc across much of the region. Over the course of the period, airports in the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland were forced to cancel or delay thousands of flights, stranding tens of thousands of passengers. Further, railways and bus services were disrupted, stranding thousands more. It was the coldest December on record in the UK since 1890. NCDC Global Hazards
Australian Flooding** December 25 After experiencing its wettest spring (September -November) on record, Tropical Cyclone Tasha made landfall near Cairns in Queensland, Australia on December 25th, bringing heavy rainfall to an already waterlogged region. Widespread flooding reportedly covered an area the size of Germany and France, combined. Agricultural and mining activities were disrupted and damage estimates were about 5 billion dollars (USD). NCDC Global Hazards

**This event occurred after the top ten voting, but may have warranted top ten placement.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Climate Report for 2010, published online January 2011, retrieved on August 17, 2019 from