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Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 06/28/2011

NOAA climate report: Array of indicators demonstrate global warming


Changes in surface temperature (left) and the Greenland ice sheet (right) are two indicators of warming in NOAA’s “2010 State of the Climate” report (NOAA)

Earlier today, NOAA released its annual “2010 State of the Climate” report, describing trends in more than 40 climate variables . In a briefing to press, NOAA said the report provides a “consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans” that the world continues to warm.

Drawing from the research of 368 scientists in 45 countries, the peer-reviewed report highlights the following findings providing multiple lines of evidence of a warming climate:

Surface temperature:

* Three major independent datasets show 2010 as one of the two warmest years since official record-keeping began in the late 19th century.

* A supplementary report from NOAA describing 2011 trends through May indicated: “May 2011 was the 315th consecutive month with a positive global temperature anomaly. The last month to have a global temperature below its 20th century average was February 1985.” In other words, temperatures have been above the long-term average every month for more than 25 years.

* The Arctic continued to warm at about twice the rate of low latitudes

Glaciers

* The world’s mountain glaciers lost mass for the 20th consecutive year.

*Greenland glaciers lost more mass in 2010 than any other year on record. The Greenland ice sheet melted at the highest rate since at least 1958. The melt area was approximately 8 percent more than the previous record set in 2007.

Sea ice

* Arctic sea ice shrank to its third smallest area on record. The area was so small in September that for the first time in modern history, both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route were open for navigation.

Sea surface temperature

* The average sea surface temperature for 2010 of all the oceans around the world was the third warmest on record. This despite the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean cooling almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit from 2009 to 2010, reflecting the transition from an El Niño to La Niña climate pattern

Ocean heat content

* Ocean heat content in 2010 was similar to 2009 and was among the highest values in the record.

Sea Level

* Sea level continued to rise across the world’s oceans on average.

Additional indicators

* Warming of average nighttime lake surface temperature globally

* Oceans were saltier than average in areas of high evaporation and fresher than average in areas of high precipitation, suggesting that the water cycle is intensifying.

Report materials:
* Full report
* Press briefing
* Highlights document
* Press release

By  |  03:45 PM ET, 06/28/2011

Categories:  Climate Change, Latest

 
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