WASHINGTON - The world last year wasn't quite as warm as it had been for most of the past decade, government scientists said yesterday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures.
The average global temperature was 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, making 2011 the 11th-hottest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. That's 0.9 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average, officials said. In fact, it was warmer than every year last century except 1998.
One reason 2011 was milder than recent years was the La Niña cooling of the central Pacific Ocean. La Niñas occur every few years and generally cause global temperatures to drop, but this was the warmest La Niña year on record.