December 14, 2011

2011 was the 10th Hottest Year in recorded history

ENVIRONMENT - 13 of the hottest year in recorded history were in the last 15 years. This past year was no different, tying for the number 10 spot. The global warming phenomenon and its cause due to greenhouse gases will certainly continue to be a hot topic in 2012.

Our governments will continue to ignore the threat of climate change and the growing sense of environmental catastrophe will expand as we encounter longer droughts, deeper floods, record setting hurricanes and bizarre weather.

World temperatures keep rising and we are heading for irreversible changes as the Arctic sea ice has shrunk to record-low volumes in 2011, the melting of the permafrost and rising sea levels. Rising sea levels is the biggest danger since most of the world's population lives in coastal cities which would be flooded by just a 7 meter increase (scientists have determined that if both poles melted it would be an approximately 21 meter increase). Some island nations will be destroyed entirely by rising sea levels.

"The science is solid and proves unequivocally that the world is warming," says R.D.J. Lengoasa, deputy director of the International Meteorological Organization. "Climate change is real, and we are already observing its manifestations in weather and climate patterns around the world," he said on the sidelines of the UN climate conference under way in South Africa.

2011 has been a year of extreme weather. Extreme drought in East Africa has left tens of thousands dead, and there have been deadly floods in Asia, and 14 separate weather catastrophes in the United States with damage topping $1 billion each. American insurance rates are skyrocketing due to weather alone.

Climate negotiators have set a goal of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 C above preindustrial levels. The global temperature average is already 0.8 C above the preindustrial average.

"Forget about it. It's too late," says Michel Jarraud, IMO's secretary-general, who also says the 2.3 F target already is out of reach because countries keep bickering over blame and doing nothing.

Scientists are now stating the record high concentrations of greenhouse gases will result in the average global temperature eventually rising another 2.4 C above 2011 levels.

2011 saw high temperatures saturated the Earth despite a La Nina event, when low surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean normally has a cooling effect on the entire globe. 2012 is expected to be one of the top 5 hottest years on record.

This means bizarre and extreme weather will increase in both frequency and intensity as the Earth continues to warm.

PREDICTION: The melting of sea ice in the poles will create channels through which ocean currents can pull ice farther into warmer waters, causing a chain reaction and sea ice melting at a faster rate than normal. Similar events happened during the collapse of ice shelves in previous years, but the ocean currents could speed up the process.

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