Perspective, they say, is everything. Donald Trump may not believe in climate change because it’s cold during North American winters, but last week, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) released a compelling report to the contrary, based on a 60-year temperature analysis from 1,000 meteorological stations from around the globe. The scientists found that 2013 was one of the warmest years on record, “continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures” driven by man-made emissions.
NASA scientists also made a visualization that illustrated the more disturbing developments in climate change in recent years. Other than the year 1998, the 10 warmest years in more than a century all took place in the new millennium. As you can see below, the changing colors reflect the overall change in temperature.
“Long-term trends in surface temperatures are unusual and 2013 adds to the evidence for ongoing climate change,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said in a press release. “While one year or one season can be affected by random weather events, this analysis shows the necessity for continued, long-term monitoring.”
The average temperature in 2013, 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit, was 1.1 F warmer than the mid-20th century baseline, scientists say. Last year, when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed levels of 400 parts per million, the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide reached a higher point than it had at any time in the last 800,000 years.
Point is, weather is different from climate. And when you take a step back, science has again and again pointed to the relationship between the postwar industrial boom and the rise of greenhouse gases throwing the planet’s self-regulation into flux. In recent years, both the Pentagon and foreign governments have cited failure to mitigate climate change as a primary national security concern, as climactic changes threaten supply chains and drive conflict.