For the few people who still need proof the planet is warming, NASA is complying today.
In a strongly worded release announcing 2012 was the ninth-warmest year on record on terra firma, NASA said one year doesn’t mean much, but the the continuing warming of the planet is now a sure thing.
Scientists emphasize that weather patterns cause fluctuations in average temperatures from year to year, but the continued increase in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere assures that there will be a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each individual year will not necessarily be warmer than the previous year, but scientists expect each decade to be warmer than the previous decade.
“One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”