The Hottest Decade on Record

The past decade was the hottest ever recorded and global temperatures are now rising at a rate of about one-fifth of a degree Fahrenheit every decade, according to the annual “State of theClimate” report issued by the U.S. National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration (NOAA). More than 300 climate scientists in 48 countriesused a wide variety of data to measure 10 indicators of warming,including air temperatures, sea temperatures, Arctic sea ice, glaciers,and spring snow cover. “These independently produced lines of evidenceall point to the same conclusion: our planet is warming,” said NOAAadministrator Jane Lubchenco. The NOAA report said every decade since the 1980s has become progressively warmer. Deke Arndt, the co-author of the NOAA report, said that although 1 degree Fof warming since 1950 may seem small, “it has already altered ourplanet” by melting glaciers and sea ice, causing more intense heatwaves, and sparking heavier rainstorms. The data showing that the 2000swere the hottest on record did not include data from 2010, which is sofar the warmest year ever recorded, with extreme heat waves in the U.S., Russia, Europe, China, and the Middle East. The NOAA report said morethan 90 percent of the warmth generated by burning heat-trapping fossilfuels has been absorbed by the oceans, which will radiate that heat back into the atmosphere for centuries to come.

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