The long-term warming trend so many of us have been concerned about received further confirmation in the eyes of NASA scientists who noted that 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880 and another in the long-term warming trend.
The nine warmest years in the 132-year record — with the exception of 1988 — have all come since 2000 (2005 and 2010 are recorded as the hottest years on record so far).
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York released Tuesday an updated analysis of global temperatures and how they compare to previous years. They found that the average temperature in 2012 was about 14.6°Celsius (58.3 degrees Fahrenheit), which is 0.6°C (1.0°F) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline.
This has forced the average global temperature up by 0.8°C (1.4°F) since 1880, according to the new analysis.
A legitimate scientist will ensure you remember that weather patterns cause any number of fluctuations in average temperature from year to year. However, the continual increase in greenhouse gas levels in our planet’s atmosphere has ensured a long-term warming trend.
So while each year may not grow warmer than the year previously, scientists expect each decade to be warmer than the previous decade.
“One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
“The U.S. temperatures in the summer of 2012 are an example of a new trend of outlying seasonal extremes that are warmer than the hottest seasonal temperatures of the mid-20th century,” GISS director James E. Hansen said. “The climate dice are now loaded. Some seasons still will be cooler than the long-term average, but the perceptive person should notice that the frequency of unusually warm extremes is increasing. It is the extremes that have the most impact on people and other life on the planet.”