The year 2011 was another ecologically tumultuous year with greenhouse gases rise to record levels, Arctic sea ice nearly equalling 2007?s record melt, and temperatures the 11th highest ever recorded.
It was marked on the ground by unparalleled extremes of heat and cold in the US, droughts and heatwaves in Europe and Africa and record numbers of weather-related natural disasters.
The 41 sea, land and air indicators used by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to measure sea and land temperatures showed unequivocally that the world continued to warm throughout 2011. In July, NOAA reported that the last 300 months had all been above average temperature and that the 13 warmest years had all occurred in the 15 years since 1997. 2011 was additionally remarkable, it said, because a “La Niña” event was taking place, a naturally occurring oceanic cooling phenomenon that would normally bring temperatures down.
Despite stagnation or economic recession in many industrialised countries, concentrations of CO2, measured at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, peaked at more than 394 parts per million in May and are now 39% above where they were at the start of the industrial era and approaching the point when some scientists say it will be nearly impossible to contain global warming.
In greenie-weenie talk, we simply describe it as the start of the Anthropocene.
- NOAA Arctic Report Card finds Arctic entering into new phase: warmer, greener, and less ice (greencarcongress.com)
- Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases greenhouse gas (peakenergy.blogspot.com)
- Carbon Time Bomb in the Arctic: New York Times Print Edition Gets the Story Right (thinkprogress.org)
- The Ghost of Climate Yet to Come (thinkprogress.org)
- Arctic Sea Ice Hockey Stick: Melt Unprecedented in Last 1,450 Years (thinkprogress.org)