Abnormally hot temperatures, ice melted at record levels in 2017: US report

04 August, 2018, 14:38 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • 2017 Witnessed New Surge In Greenhouse Gases Worldwide US Report

The State of the Climate in 2017 report, led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Centers for Environmental Information, was compiled using contributions from more than 500 scientists in more than 60 countries.

The United States is the world's second-leading polluter, after China, but has rolled back environmental safeguards under Trump, who has declared climate change a "Chinese hoax" and exited the Paris deal, which was signed by more than 190 nations as a path toward curbing harmful emissions.

Although the 300-page report makes no predictions, the word "abnormal" appeared at least a dozen times as it documents the statistics relating to temperatures, extreme weather events, droughts and record low ice cover.

Greenhouse gases also surged to new highs, with the top three most unsafe greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) all breaking new records. This was 2.2 ppm greater than 2016 and was the highest in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.

It noted that the global growth rate of Carbon dioxide has "nearly quadrupled since the early 1960s".

While 2017 is not the hottest year on record, depending on the measurements and model it is the second or third.

The world's highest temperature ever recorded for May was observed on May 28 in Turbat, western Pakistan, with a high of 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit (53.5 degrees Celsius).

The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, with the four warmest years occurring since 2014, the report noted.

The unprecedented heat enveloped the Arctic previous year, where land surface temperature hit 2.9°F above the 1981-2010 average, with the area recording the second highest temperatures since records began there in 1900.


NOAA says the "average global surface temperatures were 0.68-0.86 of a degree F (0.38-0.48 of a degree C) above the 1981-2010 average".

And those high temperatures are without the influence of El Niño, a climatic event that creates warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and is capable of changing weather around the globe.

Both the Arctic and the Antarctic saw record low levels of sea ice during 2017, as warmer air and sea surface temperatures continued the trend of thinning out the polar ice.

Land-based ice mirrored these reversals, with the world's glaciers losing mass for the 38th consecutive year on record.

In May of last year, ice extent in the Arctic reached its lowest maximum level in the 37-year satellite record, covering 8% less area than the long-term average. The report lists 2017 as the sixth consecutive year to have the highest global sea level. Global sea level is rising at an average rate of 1.2 inches (3.1 cm) per decade, and that rate has been even higher in the most recent decades as sea-level rise accelerates.

"I find it quite stunning, really, how these record temperatures have affected ocean ecosystems", said Gregory Johnson, an oceanographer at Noaa. "If we were to freeze greenhouse gases at the level they are today, the oceans would continue to warm and seas continue to rise for centuries to come".

Unprecedented coral bleaching also occurred during 2017, according to the report, which was the most widespread and destructive ever observed with hundreds of miles of corals in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean basins experiencing up to 95% mortality in the hardest-hit reefs.

The last three year's warmer ocean waters have contributed to devastating episodes of coral bleaching globally, the report notes.

USA president Donald Trump, who had vowed on the campaign trail that he would take that step, said in 2012 that climate change was a hoax created by the Chinese to make United States manufacturing non-competitive. There were also contrasts of extreme precipitation in many places a year ago and drought events across the world.

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