NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported last month:

Based on preliminary data, the globally-averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was  the fifth warmest on record for April, and the January-April year-to-date period tied with 2003 as the sixth warmest on record.

lt is worth noting “the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) transitioned from a cold phase (La Niña) to ENSO-neutral conditions during April 2009,” which kept things on the coolish side.  If we stay neutral (as most models currently predict), it’ll get hotter and if go into an El Niño (as some models predict) then we should be back to setting record temperatures.

And no, I don’t think the monthly data tell us much about the climate.  But I know reporting it annoys the deniers.  More seriously, it is definitely worth seeing where it is warming [click to enlarge]:

Once again, the geographical distribution of the warming continues to be really, really bad news for those worried about the land of the permafrost permamelt, where it is running upwards of 4°-5°C (7°-9°F) warmer than normal.   This is worrisome because:

As for what the peer-reviewed scientific literature forecasts for the next decade, temperaturewise:

  • The “coming decade” (2010 to 2020) is poised to be the warmest on record, globally.
  • The coming decade is poised to see faster temperature rise than any decade since the authors’ calculations began in 1960.
  • The fast warming would likely begin early in the next decade — similar to the 2007 prediction by the Hadley Center in Science (see “Climate Forecast: Hot — and then Very Hot“).

That is why they call it global warming.