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.
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.
At the highest point atop the Greenland Ice Sheet, Matthew Shupe and his colleagues are installing a suite of climate and weather instruments. Their goal is to better understand the role of clouds in the rapid warming observed across the Arctic region.