The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the combined global land and ocean surface temperature from December through February was at its highest since records began in 1880.
A record-warm January was responsible for pushing up the combined winter temperature, according to the agency's Web site.
"Contributing factors were the long-term trend toward warmer temperatures as well as a moderate El Nino in the Pacific," Jay Lawrimore of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center said in a telephone interview from Asheville, North Carolina.
The next-warmest winter on record was in 2004, and the third warmest winter was in 1998, Lawrimore said.
The ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1995.
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