World is at its warmest since records began, NASA warns

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The global temperature over the last 12 months has been the highest on record, according to the latest NASA figures.

It topped the previous record, 2005, and was 0.65 degrees Celcius warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean.

"Global warming on decadal time scales is continuing without letup," say NASA climate change scientist James Hansen and three co-authors who compiled the data.

"But because it is important to draw attention to change as soon as possible, we need ways to make the data trends clear without waiting for additional decades to pass."

NASA monitors global temperatures via observations from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit.

After analyzing the figures, the team says that claims that 'global warming stopped in 1998' simply aren't true.

"Of course it is possible to find almost any trend for a limited period via judicious choice of start and end dates of a data set that has high temporal resolution, but that is not a meaningful exercise," they say.

"Even a more moderate assessment, 'the trend in global surface temperature has been nearly flat since the late 1990s despite continuing increases in the forcing due to the sum of the well-mixed greenhouse gases' [Solomon et al., 2009], is not supported by our data."