Global warming, or, “holy crap”

Surface temperatures in 2012 compared to the 1981-2010 average. NOAA map by Dan Pisut, NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab, based on based on Merged Land and Ocean Surface Temperature data from the National Climatic Data Center.
Surface temperatures in 2012 compared to the 1981-2010 average. NOAA map by Dan Pisut, NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab, based on based on Merged Land and Ocean Surface Temperature data from the National Climatic Data Center.

 

Mother Jones has obtained a copy of the draft  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s 2013 Summary for Policymakers report, and is highlighting five of the most “holy crap” moments from it. While Mother Jones notes that its 95 percent certain humans are behind much of the global warming experienced in the last 60 years (file under “no shit”), the document, as Mother Jones reports, “says, very bluntly, just how bad global warming is going to be. It gives a sense of irreversibility, of scale…and, of direness.”

You can read their summary here. It’s worth a look.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, NOAA’s climate branch issued this report on the 2012 state of the climate. The basic takeaway, “Earth’s average annual surface temperature is higher today than it was when record keeping began in the mid- to late 1800s, an indicator of long-term, global-scale climate warming.”

You can see a visual representation of the findings in the photo above. Still not sure why it matters? Here’s NOAA’s take:

“Of all the planets in our neighborhood, Earth has a surface temperature that is uniquely friendly to life. That friendliness is the result of a balancing act between incoming sunlight and outgoing thermal energy—the heat radiated back to space by everything in the Earth system, from land to oceans to clouds and, especially, by the gases in the atmosphere. Everything from sea ice concentrations, to plant productivity on land and in the oceans, to the strength of tropical cyclones is influenced by Earth’s surface temperature.”

 

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