Latest vital statistics for climate change
I figured this would be a good week to take a look at the latest climate change statistics, courtesy of NASA.
Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration continues to steadily climb with no signs of leveling off as it surpasses 420 ppm, which is easily the highest level in the past 800,000 years.
As greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide continue to build up in our atmosphere, they act as a blanket, trapping more and more of the earth's heat close to the surface. The result has been an accelerated warming of our planet, especially since the 1980s.
In addition, the world's oceans, on average, have been absorbing much of this excess heat, and the result has been a notable warming trend for a large majority of the ocean surface.
A few regions of the world's oceans over the past 30 years have not experienced a warming trend, with some areas seeing cooling. The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is likely causing an increase in fresh, cold water in the far North Atlantic south of Greenland, which has led to a slight cooling trend.
As the world's oceans continue to get warmer, thermal expansion combined with the melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are contributing to an acceleration of global sea level rise, which is becoming a growing problem for exposed coastal communities.
Speaking of Greenland and Antarctica, these massive, land-based ice sheets continue to lose mass from increasing air temperature above and warming waters below.