The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in conjunction with the United Kingdom’s Met Office issued their annual report on climate change and extreme weather. The report highlights state that 2011 was among 15 of the warmest years globally. That extreme weather events show influence of climate change, and that greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere has reached a new high. Overall, 2011 was a year of extreme events – from historic droughts in East Africa, northern Mexico and the southern United States to an above-average cyclone season in the North Atlantic and the end of Australia’s wettest two-year period ever, according to the report. The report also found the Arctic was warming about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, on average, with Arctic sea ice shrinking to its second-smallest recorded size. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide among others – continued to rise last year, and the global average atmospheric concentration for carbon dioxide went over 390 parts per million for the first time, an increase of 2.1 ppm in 2010, stated NOAA. In Britain, November 2011 was the second-warmest in the central England temperature record dating back to 1659, and climate change made that extreme high temperature average 60 times more likely than it would have been in 1960, the researchers found. NOAA announced statistics for the continental United States, showing that the past 12 months were the hottest such period on record and the first six month of 2012 were the hottest such period on record, with more than 170 all-time heat records matched or broken. The full report can be found online at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2011.php.
Photo Credit: John Vlahakis