2009 Ends Warmest Decade on Record
<<Except for a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s, Earth’s surface temperatures have increased since 1880. The last decade has brought temperatures to the highest levels ever recorded, and the last year of the decade (2009) was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, is based on temperatures recorded at weather stations around the world and satellite data over the oceans.
This map illustrates just how much warmer temperatures were in the decade (2000-2009, lower image) compared to average temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980 (a common reference period for climate studies). In both images, the most extreme warming, shown in red, was in the Arctic. Very few areas saw cooler than average temperatures, shown in blue in both time periods. Gray areas over Africa and parts of the Southern Ocean are places where temperatures were not recorded.
January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Throughout the last three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade. Since 1880, the year that modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present. In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 0.8°C (1.5°F) since 1880.>>
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