The extent of ice cover in the Arctic for January was the lowest on record, following another record-low in December for that month, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
Ice covered on average 5.23 million square miles (13.55 million square kilometers) in January 2011, which is almost half a million square miles less than the average ice extent measured between 1979-2000, and 19,3000 square miles (50,000 square kilometers) below the previous record set in 2006.
The Arctic oscillation, which brought colder-than-average temperatures to some parts of the US and Europe, fed an unusually warm winter in Canada and the Arctic. According to the NSIDC, temperatures in the Arctic were often 2-6 degrees Celsius (4-11 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal during January.
Scientists overwhelming conclude that the world is undergoing warming due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
(02/03/2011) In 2005 the Amazon rainforest underwent a massive drought that was labeled a one-in-100 year event. The subsequent die-off of trees from the drought released 5 billion tons of CO2. Just five years later another major drought struck. The 2010 drought, which desiccated entire rivers, may have been even worse according to a new study in Science, adding on-the-ground evidence to fears that climate change may inevitably transform the world’s greatest rainforest.
(01/24/2011) Melting of the Greenland ice sheet was the most extreme yet in 2010, beating the previous melt record from 2007. This continues a long-term trend whereby melting in Greenland has increased on average 17,000 square kilometers every year since 1979.
(01/19/2011) New images released by NASA illustrate how four different global temperature records show remarkably consistent warming around the world. Currently, global temperatures are analyzed by four major organizations: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Met Office Hadley Center’s Climatic Research Unit, and the Japanese Meteorological Agency. Although each organization has garnered slightly different results year-to-year, all show a consistent warming trend globally, including that the most recent decade as the warmest since record-keeping began in the late Nineteenth Century.