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Last year was ninth warmest in history, NASA says

Last year was ninth warmest in history, NASA says

Posting in Energy

NASA's annual analysis of global temperatures finds that 2011 was another warm year for our planet.

There’s no denying it—the world is getting warmer. Now with new evidence gathered by NASA, we might find that the heat waves and nearly non-existent winters of 2011 are the new norm.

According to an annual analysis of global temperatures released earlier this week by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the planet’s average temperature was nearly one degree F warmer in 2011 than it was in the middle of the 20th century.

The map above illustrates changes in temperature by region, showing how much warmer or cooler each area was in 2011 compared with an averaged “base period” from 1951 to 1980. Some regions, such as patches of land in Siberia and the Arctic, have experienced increases of as much as seven degrees F above the mid-century average.

Scientists from NASA also note that of the ten warmest years in history, nine have occurred since the year 2000 (including 2011 which ranked as the ninth warmest year).

“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS director James Hansen in a press release. “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 ten warmest years on record.”

Image: NASA

[via Yale Environment 360]

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Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure