Record Ice Loss and Tundra Melt Amplify Warming Feedbacks
by Nick Sundt, reposted from the World Wildlife Fund
NASA just (19 January 2012) released data showing that last year temperatures in the Arctic rose beyond the record established in 2010 — setting a new record for 2011. News of the record Arctic temperatures follows a series of alarming developments related to the Arctic in recent months.
The surface temperature anomaly for the region extending from 64N to 90N, from 1880 through 2011, in degrees Centigrade above or below the temperature during the 1951-1980 base period. Temperatures have risen substantially since 1880 and the rate of increase has been especially rapid since the late 1970s. Source: WWF, using data from NASA.
According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the annual mean surface temperature (land and air) for the region north of 64oN (the Arctic Circle is at 66° 33′N) in 2011 was 2.28oC above that which characterized the 1951-1980 period. Temperatures in the region have been rising rapidly since the late 1970s and have not dropped below the long term mean since 1992 — nearly 20 years. This year’s annual mean temperature broke the record that was just set in 2010, when the temperature was 2.11oC above 1951-1980 levels.
Global temperature data released by NASA indicates that global surface temperatures in 2011 were the 9th highest on record, and that the warming was especially concentrated in the Arctic. ”We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS director James E. Hansen in a NASA press release (NASA Finds 2011 Ninth Warmest Year on Record, 19 Jan 2012). “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”
Annual global surface temperature anomalies, 2011. The largest and most extensive warming (indicated in shades of red) was concentrated in the Arctic. Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
News of the record Arctic temperatures follows a series of alarming developments related to the Arctic in recent months.
Declining Arctic Sea Ice Affecting Wildlife, Weather Patterns