News > Past decade the warmest on record, report indicates
A newly released report compiled by more than 300 scientists in 48 countries, including more than 20 from the UK, has concluded that the past decade has been the warmest on record, and that every one of 10 defined indicators currently proves consistent with a warming world.
Entitled State Of The Climate In 2009, the report analyses a vast range of data from sources all over the world. "For the first time, and in a single compelling comparison, the analysis brings together multiple observational records from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean," said Dr Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the NOAA in the United States. "The records come from many institutions worldwide. They use data collected from diverse sources, including satellites, weather balloons, weather stations, ships, buoys and field surveys. These independently produced lines of evidence all point to the same conclusion: our planet is warming."
Ten measurable planet-wide indicators of global warming were examined. Seven of these were shown to be rising: air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, air temperature over oceans, sea level, ocean heat, humidity and tropospheric temperature in the "active-weather" layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth's surface. Three were shown to be declining: Arctic sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere. In all cases, the pattern of the data is consistent with global warming.
"Despite the variability caused by short-term changes, the analysis conducted for this report illustrates why we are so confident the world is warming," said Dr Peter Stott of the Met Office Hadley Centre, one of the contributors to the report. "When we look at air temperature and other indicators of climate, we see highs and lows in the data from year to year because of natural variability. Understanding climate change requires looking at the longer-term record. When we follow decade-to-decade trends using multiple data sets and independent analyses from around the world, we see clear and unmistakable signs of a warming world."