Observing & Predicting

We're nine laps into the race to set a new global annual temperature record. NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt talks about how this year's race might end--and why yearly rankings tell us less about the big picture of climate change than we might think.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

  • El Niño and La Niña conditions occur when abnormally warm or cool waters accumulate in tropical latitudes of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. The Oceanic Nino Index is the tool NOAA scienitsts use to watch for these temperature changes. 

  • Minimum sea ice extent observed by satellites each September has decreased by 13.7 percent per decade since the late 1970s. The seven lowest extents all occurred since 2007.

  • Human activities, mainly burning fossil fuels, are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, amplifying the natural greenhouse effect.

  • Temperatures measured on land and at sea for more than a century show that Earth's globally averaged surface temperature is experiencing a long-term warming trend.