It was the 34th year running that global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average; the last below-average year was 1976. The new figures show that 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since the beginning of 2001.
...over all the year was not as exceptional in this country [USA] as for the world as a whole. In the contiguous United States, for instance, the NOAA figures showed that it was the fourth hottest summer on record and the 23rd hottest year.
Of course, it's the long-term trend is the most worrisome, as James Hansen said in a NASA press release:
Certainly, it is interesting that 2010 was so warm despite the presence of a La Niña and a remarkably inactive sun, two factors that have a cooling influence on the planet, but far more important than any particular year’s ranking are the decadal trends,” Hansen said.The release also has a nice summary of the differences between the different temperature sets and base periods and the advantages and disadvantages of each.