2011 Was a Bit Cooler, But Overall Warming Trend Continues

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In 2011, the globe wasn't quite as warm as it had been for most of the past decade, government scientists said this past week, but the world is continuing a general trend of rising temperatures.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global temperature was 57.9 degrees, making 2011 0.9 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.

Scientists said one reason last year was milder than recent years was the La Nina weather pattern, with cooling Pacific Ocean temperatures. La Ninas occur every few years, traditionally dropping global temperatures, but officials said 2011 was the warmest La Nina year on record.

Additionally, NOAA has released new figures for extreme weather - recalculating the number of billion-dollar weather disasters in the U.S., bumping the 2011 total from 12 to 14. The 14 extreme events smashed the old record of nine billion-dollar disasters in 2009.

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