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2013 Was One Hot Year: New Climate Change Report

Jul 17, 2014 01:20 PM EDT
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As if there isn't enough evidence already, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) dropped its two cents in today, releasing data from 2013 that shows that global temperatures are continuing to rise while extreme weather patterns worsen. Do they claim "doomsday?" Not at all, but they do suggest that this data can help support calls for some necessary changes.

The data largely concerns climate factors and meteorological patterns detected in 2013 and is presented in a year-to-year analysis in a report sporting the title "State of the Climate in 2013."

Painfully unoriginal titles aside, the report highlights some key food-for-thought that the NOAA - who edited the report - says world leaders should pay attention to.

"These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place," NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said in a statement. "This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change."

According to the report, 2013 was one of the warmest years on record, with average global sea surface temperatures reaching into the top 10 hottest ever at their peak. Australia alone also experienced its warmest year ever recorded - a slap in the face for its climate change-denying Prime Minister Tony Abbott who just recently abolished a tax on greenhouse gas emissions.

The AMS report also noted that while the Arctic continues to warm - experiencing record high temperatures around permafrost stations in Alaska and the sixth lowest ice extent in history - the Antarctic ice sea continues to extend further than ever before, reaching more than 7.5 million square miles by Oct. 1.

However, the reach of the ice sea does not necessarily mean it's not melting. Past reports have show that Antarctic ice losses have doubled over the last decade, with thick sheets breaking up to form a larger icy sea. Backing this claim, the AMS report adds that "near the end of [2013], the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957."

The report's findings also add to a growing argument made by the World Meteorological Organization that the definition of "normal weather" needs to change in order to reflect current conditions, and should be updated every decade.

The report is the 24th edition in a peer-reviewed series of annual reports, and was published in the Bulletin of the American Metrological Society.

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