2013 Seventh Warmest Year On Record
January 21, 2014

NASA Says 2013 Ties For Seventh Warmest Year On Record

[ Watch The Video: Six Decades Of A Warming Earth ]

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York found that 2013 tied 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880. GISS analyzes global surface temperatures and released an updated report on Tuesday on the 2013 temperatures from around the world. According to the report, the average temperature last year was 58.3 degree Fahrenheit, which is about 1.1 degrees warmer than the mid-20th century baseline.

NASA researchers found that the average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.

GISS researchers use weather data from more than 1,000 meteorological stations around the world, satellite observations of sea-surface temperature, and Antarctic research station measurements for the report. After collecting this data, the team used software to calculate the difference between surface temperature in a given month and the average temperature for the same place from 1951 to 1980, which act as a baseline.

All but one of the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record. Scientists believe that weather patterns cause fluctuations in average temperatures from year to year, but the continued increases in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere are driving long-term rise in global temperatures.

"Long-term trends in surface temperatures are unusual and 2013 adds to the evidence for ongoing climate change," said GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt. "While one year or one season can be affected by random weather events, this analysis shows the necessity for continued, long-term monitoring."

The carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was about 285 parts per million in 1880, which was the first year that the GISS temperature record began. By 1960, the levels measured at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Mauna Lao Observatory in Hawaii was about 315 parts per million. NASA said that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere peaked last year at more than 400 parts per million.

Although the world experienced a tie for the seventh warmest year last year, the US experienced just the 42nd warmest year on record. In Australia, 2013 was the hottest year on record. To add to the climbing temperature worries, it has been 38 years since GISS has recorded a year of cooler than average temperatures.