In early 2011, stratospheric temperatures rose over the tropics due to La Nina while temperatures over the poles fell below the long-term average.

Data from 2010 indicate that mountain glaciers predominantly lost mass, and preliminary data from 2011 indicate a continuation of the same long-term trend.

In 2011, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cooled parts of the Pacific Ocean, but unusually warm temperatures predominated elsewhere.

map of US winter temp anomalies 2011-2012

When NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center crunched the numbers for December, January and February—”meteorological” winter for 2011-2012—it stacked up as the fourth warmest of the past 117 winters. Virtually all of the West received less than its average precipitation.

 

It is virtually certain our world will continue to warm over this century and beyond. The exact amount of warming that will occur in the coming century depends largely on the energy choices that we make now and in the next few decades.

Present since the last ice age, most of the world’s glaciers are now shrinking or disappearing altogether as the climate gets warmer. 

Records from the last five decades show that on average, spring snow is disappearing earlier in the year than it did in the past. 

Pages