2013 Was Earth’s Fourth-Warmest Year on Record, Federal Agency Reports

The Sun, as it appeared on Tuesday.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 21, 2014, 10:04 a.m.

Glob­al sur­face tem­per­at­ures last year were tied with 2003 as the fourth-warmest on re­cord, the Na­tion­al Ocean­ic and At­mo­spher­ic Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­por­ted Tues­day.

Nine of the 10 warmest years since re­cords began in 1880 have oc­curred this cen­tury, ac­cord­ing to NOAA.

The latest an­nu­al data ar­rives as the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is craft­ing new rules to curb car­bon emis­sions from power plants and lib­er­al Sen­ate Demo­crats are try­ing to play polit­ic­al of­fense on cli­mate change.

Ac­cord­ing to NOAA’s data, 2010 was the warmest year on re­cord glob­ally, fol­lowed by 2005 and 1998.

NASA, which provides rank­ings based on slightly dif­fer­ent cal­cu­la­tions, said Tues­day that 2013 was tied with 2009 and 2006 as the sev­enth-warmest on re­cord (check out these slides for more on that).

The trend, a top NASA sci­ent­ist said, is un­mis­tak­able.

“Long-term trends in sur­face tem­per­at­ures are un­usu­al and 2013 adds to the evid­ence for on­go­ing cli­mate change,” said cli­ma­to­lo­gist Gav­in Schmidt of NASA’s God­dard In­sti­tute for Space Stud­ies.

Glob­al-warm­ing skep­tics have seized on the re­l­at­ive lack of sur­face warm­ing since 1998 when bat­tling fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions, and chal­len­ging the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of sci­ent­ists who say hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change is a real­ity.

But NASA, echo­ing a 2013 re­port by the World Met­eor­o­lo­gic­al Or­gan­iz­a­tion, noted the dec­ade-over-dec­ade av­er­ages con­tin­ue to show warm­ing.

“Each suc­cess­ive year will not ne­ces­sar­ily be warm­er than the year be­fore, but with the cur­rent level of green­house gas emis­sions, sci­ent­ists ex­pect each suc­cess­ive dec­ade to be warm­er than the pre­vi­ous,” NASA said in a state­ment along­side its latest data.

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