Hot Spring on Planet Earth
It is getting more and more difficult to deny that global warming is occurring. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report recently about the state of the global climate, and the results were not pretty. It turns out the combined global land and ocean surface temperatures set a record in May. In fact, from March to May, it was the hottest spring on record. Furthermore, the whole first half of the year, from January to May was also the warmest on record.
In May, land and ocean temperatures were 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit (F) above the twentieth century average of 58.6 F. Land surface alone was 1.87 F above the average, and the oceans were 0.99 F above average. Most parts of the planet felt these warmer temperatures. The greatest anomalies were in eastern North America, eastern Brazil, Eastern Europe, south Asia, eastern Russia, and equatorial Africa. Several spots that saw cooler temperatures were western North America, northern Argentina, interior Asia, and Western Europe.
These temperature differences also occurred throughout the whole spring. Combined land and ocean temperatures were 1.31 F above the average. Land surface alone was 2.2 F above average, and ocean surface was 0.99 F above the average. Regionally high temperatures occurred in northern North America, northern Africa, Eastern Europe, south Asia, and parts of Australia, especially Tasmania. The northeastern United States had its hottest spring on record. On the other hand, cooler temperatures were found in the western US and East Asia. Plus, Western Europe saw one of the driest springs on record.
To add to the global climate woe, ice caps and glaciers have been melting more rapidly. Artic sea ice had its smallest May footprint since records began in 1979. It melted fifty percent faster than its average May melting rate. However, Antarctic sea ice cover extended to 7.3% above its May average. In the northern hemisphere, snow cover was at a record low. This includes the northern parts of North America and Eurasia, including Greenland.
It seems like setting new high temperatures is the norm these days. Efforts should be made to slow down global warming. But at the same time, people all over the world will have to adapt to a changing planet. There is a chance that our best efforts may not be enough to stop this cycle from continuing into the foreseeable future.
For more information: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100615_globalstats_sup.html