Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Latest data confirms the world is warming

graph showing increase in global average temperatures to 2010
Globally, 2010 tied with 2005 and 1998 as being the hottest year on record, despite ending in Britain with a cold spell, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Last year, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean.

“The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.”

The WMO's statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In addition, Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres - a staggering 1.35 million square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December.

This follows the third-lowest minimum ice extent recorded in September. It is this phenomenon that is paradoxically thought to be responsible for the cold weather in northern Europe in December.

The WMO said that over land, few parts of the world were significantly cooler than average in 2010, the most notable being parts of northern Europe and central and eastern Australia.

Another predicted feature of climate change is extreme weather and climate events, and 2010 experienced a high number of these, including the heatwave in Russia and the devastating monsoonal floods in Pakistan. These were described in WMO’s provisional statement on the status of the global climate issued December 2010.

Despite this scientific evidence, climate change denialism is still common, and even increasing in America. The Republican Study Committee last week released a list of proposed budget cuts totaling $2.5 trillion, including a recommendation to withdraw U.S. funding from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In the U.S., much anti-climate change rhetoric is funded by the oil industry. Chief amongst these is Koch Industries, as identified by Greenpeace.

Last month they were the target of a hoax by unknown perpetrators, who made a fake website and fake news release that falsely announced the company was discontinuing its funding for denialist organizations such as Americans for Prosperity. Last week, Koch Industries filed a federal lawsuit in Utah seeking the identities of the people behind it.

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