Although 2017 was not the warmest on record, it comes after a scorching 2016 which was the hottest year ever recorded, besting 2015, which bested 2014. Moreover, recent NASA and NOAA analyses show that the five warmest years on record have occurred since 2010. The following chart shows the 10 hottest years all occurring since 2007. The heat is on!
The Heat Is On
The Copernicus Climate Change Service reports that temperatures averaged 14.7 degrees Celsius (58.46 Fahrenheit) at the Earth’s surface in 2017 – 1.2C (2.2F) above pre-industrial times. To avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change, scientists argue that global temperatures cannot exceed 2 degrees Celsius of warming.
It’s striking that 16 of the 17 warmest years have all been this century ~ Jean-Noel Thepaut (head of Copernicus).
The fingerprints of warming are obvious around the entire globe – deadly wildfires in California, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, heatwaves in Europe and Australia, droughts and flooding worldwide.
The warming trend in the Arctic is nearly twice the global average of the last decades, a phenomenon known as Arctic Amplification. This leads to faster melting of permafrost releasing both methane and carbon dioxide causing even more rapid warming – a worrisome amplifying positive feedback. Arctic amplification also drives extreme weather events in Canada and the US, produced in part by variations in the Polar Vortex.
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Published on Jan 18, 2018
What is happening in the Arctic is particularly distressing. Sea ice set a new year-end low according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center – 1.09 million square kilometers (420,900 square miles) lower than 2016’s record low.
While not all regions of the globe experience the same degree of warming, Alaska is in a class of its own. Alaska has just recorded its hottest December with a stunning 9.6C (15.7F) above the 20th century average. “We are the U.S.’s canary in that coal mine,” writes Joe Romm in Think Progress.
The debate is over about whether or not climate change is real; it is now time to act to solve the problem ~ David Suzuki