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29 Jul 2010: 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 the Climate” report issued by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). More than 300 climate scientists in 48 countries used 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 evidence all point to the same conclusion: our planet is warming,” said NOAA administrator 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 F of warming since 1950 may seem small, “it has already altered our planet” by melting glaciers and sea ice, causing more intense heat waves, and sparking heavier rainstorms. The NOAA report said more than 90 percent of the warmth generated by burning heat-trapping fossil fuels has been absorbed by the oceans, which will radiate that heat back into the atmosphere for centuries to come.

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