2006 was fifth warmest year on record
February 13, 2007

Last week NASA scientists announced that 2006 was the fifth-warmest year in the past century, after 2005, 1998, 2002, and 2003 (in descending order by warmest year).

According to Dr. James Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, "2007 is likely to see warmer temperatures than 2006 and could prove to be the warmest on record, thanks to an El Niño and continued emissions of greenhouse gases." Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are currently at their highest levels in at least 650,000 years.

Accompanying the announcement, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, released a global map showing temperature anomalies during 2006, blue being the coolest and red being the warmest. NASA also published a graph that tracks mean global temperatures compared to the 1951 to 1980 mean. The graph shows a steady increase in temperatures since the late 1970s.

Courtesy of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies
NASA's announcement follows the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest assessment of climate change. In it, the IPCC reports that a consensus of scientists say they are 90 percent confident that global warming is due to human activities.

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This article uses quotes and information from a NASA news release.


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2006 was fifth warmest year on record.