Sweeping government climate report warns of rapid warming in Alaska, Arctic

Global surface temperature in 2016 compared to the 1981-2010 average.
Click image to enlarge. Credit NOAA

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA), each of the last three years has set a new temperature record, and 11 of the 12 hottest years on record have occurred since 2003.

"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity and life on Earth", said the peer-reviewed publication, put together by almost 500 scientists around the globe and released each year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society. But the link between global change and human activity is not detailed in the study. Those conclusions are drawn in a separate draft portion of the National Climate Assessment highlighted by The New York Times earlier this week.

Blunden says that a strong El Nino in the first part of 2016 was a contributing factor, helping push up global temperatures, but that is by no means the sole cause. The report itself clashes with claims coming from the Trump Administration, with some government officials arguing that climate change is little more than an urban myth. President Trump himself has likened climate change to a hoax coming from a...

Reportedly, 2016's heat - the highest in 137 years - came from a combination of a warming trend caused by human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and the El Niño weather pattern.

Scientists say they fear the Trump administration could change or suppress the report. In South Florida, which is struggling with both rapid sea-level rise and an increase in flooding, the city of Coral Gables is looking for ways to start saving now for higher stormwater-managements costs. Arndt, who has been working on the NOAA annual report for eight years, said it includes the "same general material", and underwent the "same general process".

Robert Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, is listed on the report as among the lead authors. NOAA releases monthly data, too.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifying before the Senate Energy Committee in June said: "I did not think that Carbon dioxide was the primary knob that changes it".

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The leak of the draft report comes amid an unprecedented streak of rapidly rising global temperatures.

Among notable findings from the new report was that greenhouse gases were the highest on record. After years of increasing, Antarctic sea ice declined, undercutting an argument by those who dispute the science of global warming.

- Sea levels are the highest they've ever been since recordkeeping began. 2016 marks the sixth year that sea levels have risen.

It is getting warmer everywhere, but in the contiguous United States, the West is warming the fastest.

- Precipitation cycles are becoming more extreme. Though this avoids the most alarming scenarios scientists have previously considered, it also excludes the least concerning, finding virtually no chance the Earth will keep warming below the desirable level of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Records from satellite data show that 2016 plotted the second lowest glacial cover on the planet. These glaciers have lost the equivalent of cutting a 70-foot thick slice off the top of the average glacier.

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