2011 was the ninth warmest year on record since the 1800′s, meaning that the 21st century already contains nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record.
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York released a visual analysis of how temperatures around the globe in 2011 compared to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience higher temperatures than several decades ago.
“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS director James E. Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Nina influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”
In the time-lapse animation below, watch as temperatures flare and then wane during periods of global development. Then watch as the entire map clouds with red during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Reminds me of that folk tale about the frog and boiling pot of water…
Image Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Center