Climate change is affecting the world. The world’s mountain glaciers lost mass for the 20th year in a row, according to the State of the Climate 2010 report. Greenland glaciers lost more mass last year than any other year on record. The report states that “water from melting glaciers and ice sheets around the world contributes to acceleration of the water cycle and sea-level rise.” Levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) continued to increase. Carbon increased at a faster rate last year than in 2009, and faster than the average rate over the last 30 years.
Last year an atmospheric climate change phenomenon called the Arctic Oscillation switched to its negative phase, and that switch caused frigid air flows out of the Arctic. That switch caused warmer temperatures in the Arctic, but brought colder weather to the Northeastern U.S. Examples cited by the recently released State of the Climate for 2010 include the unusually heavy snow in northeastern states last year. Several cities, including New York City, had their snowiest months on record in February. The Arctic Oscillation’s negative switch also contributed to Britain’s coldest winter since the winter of 1978/79. However, it caused Canada to have its warmest winter since records began in 1948.
Other highlights of the report include:
- A La Nina climate pattern brought heavy rains which caused floods in Australia, which experienced the wettest spring in 2010 since record keeping began 111 years ago. In December, rain in the state of Queensland was more than double the average amount.
- Russia had a heat wave from late June through mid-August, with 62 days of above-average heat, and Russian officials attributed almost 14,000 deaths to the high temps. However, the good news is that the report attributed the heat wave to a “persistent blocking pattern, which climate scientists do not currently see as part of any repeating or trending climate pattern.”
“The indicators show unequivocally that the world continues to warm,” said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, while announcing the release of the report.
“There is a clear and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” said Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University.