WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this year's first quarter was the warmest of any January-April period since records have been kept.
Officials said 2010's combined global land and ocean surface temperature during the quarter set all-time-high records.
The period was the warmest on record for both April and for the January through April period, NOAA said. Additionally, last month's average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and scientists said the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.
The analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is based on records going back to 1880.
Among other things, NOAA said:
-- Arctic sea ice was below normal for the 11th consecutive April, covering an average of 5.7 million square miles. That's 2.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the 15th smallest April extent since records began in 1979. It was, however, the 18th largest April Arctic sea ice extent since 2001.
-- The North American snow cover extent for the fourth month was the smallest on record. It also was the largest negative anomaly, meaning difference below the long-term average, on record for any month.
-- Based on NOAA satellite observations, snow cover extent was the fourth-lowest since 1967 and below the 1967-2010 average for the Northern Hemisphere for the seventh consecutive April.