The tornado outbreak across the southern United States in late April 2011 was deadly, devastating, and record breaking. NOAA's "CSI" team is investigating the possible connections between global warming, natural climate patterns, and tornadoes.
Near the Earth’s equator, solar heating is intense year round. Converging trade winds and abundant water vapor all combine to produce a persistent belt of daily showers known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone.
The ocean is the largest solar energy collector on Earth. More than 90 percent of the warming that has happened on Earth over the past 50 years has occurred in the ocean. Not all of that heating is detectable at the surface because currents move some of the heat to deeper layers of water, where it can "hide" for years or decades.
The average global surface temperature in October 2010 was 58.07°F (14.54°C), which is 0.97°F (0.54°C) above the historical average, according to the monthly assessment from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Each of the last three decades was warmer than all earlier decades in the instrumental record, and each set a new and statistically significant record, culminating in the 2000s, which was the warmest decade of all.