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Six decades of climate change visualized by NASA

Published on 18 February 2014 Global

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) released a report and stunning visualization last week that demonstrates how warm our Earth has become over the last six decades. Their scientists found that 2013 fell in line with a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

The average temperature in 2013 was 14.6 C, tying last year with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880. The average temperature in 2013 was also 0.6 C warmer than the mid-20th century baseline, according to the report.

That number may sound small, but this visualization shows just how dramatically temperatures around the globe have changed:

“Long-term trends in surface temperatures are unusual and 2013 adds to the evidence for ongoing climate change,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said in a press release. “While one year or one season can be affected by random weather events, this analysis shows the necessity for continued, long-term monitoring.”

In fact, it’s been 38 years since a year of colder-than-average temperatures was recorded.

Before you tut-tut about naturally occurring climate cycles, NASA is pretty sure we humans are at least partly to blame for the warming trend.

“Driven by increasing man-made emissions, the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere presently is higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years,” said a statement from NASA.

In 1880, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 285 parts per million, according to GISS. In 2013, it was 400 parts per million.

It’s not a trend that’s likely to change without a massive overhaul of industry. An Environment Canada report from last September indicated that temperatures could reach a two-degree increase since the pre-industrial age by 2050.

Source: Postmedia News | 29 January 2014