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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has compiled a new report, compiled from four major independent databases, that shows that 2012 was one of the 10 warmest years on record, and that sea levels reached a record high, whilst the Arctic Sea ice hit a record low.
The annual report, titled ‘State of the Climate in 2012’, was released by the US Department of Commerce on Tuesday, and lists a series of global climate indicators that are key for determining the condition of the environment, and judging the effects that global warming may have had on the planet. The report includes information such as average temperatures, extreme weather events, Arctic ice melt, and global sea levels.
NOAA listed several points noted in the report: that both the US and Argentina recorded their hottest years ever, and many regions around the world suffered unusually extreme weather events and patterns.
Temperature in 2012 compared to the 1981-2010 average. (NOAA)
The Arctic warmed up twice as fast as the rest of the planet, causing 97% of the Greenland ice sheet to show some signs of melting in July, 300% more than the average for that time of year.
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Sea levels rose to record highs, having fallen in 2011 due to weak atmosphere-ocean phenomenon known as La Niña. The surface heat has continued to climb, the heat content remained near record levels, and ocean salinity persisted with its increasing trend.
The atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continued to rise, with several Arctic observational posts recording that CO2 concentrations hit more than 400 parts per million, for the first time ever.
Kathryn Sullivan, the acting administrator at NOAA, explained that “many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate. Carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place.”
She said that the report was meant to help governments, policymakers, and businesses prepare for the future, by providing them with the most accurate climate change data possible.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com