While you may sigh at the constant talk of global warming, reports from NASA say that this decade has been warmer than the previous one!

According to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 2012 was the ninth warmest year since 1880 with an average temperature of 14.6° Celsius. The nine warmest years have occurred since 2000, the exception being 1998. The other years are 2010 and 2005.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures, released an updated analysis recently. It compares temperatures around the globe in 2012 to the average global temperature from the mid 20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago.

The average temperature in 2012 was about 14.6° Celsius, which is 0.6° C warmer than the mid 20th century baseline. The average global temperature has risen about 0.8° C since 1880, according to the new analysis.

Rising temperature

Scientists emphasise that weather patterns always will cause fluctuations in average temperature from year to year, but the continued increase in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere assures a long term rise in global temperatures.

Each successive year will not necessarily be warmer than the year before, but if the current course of increase in greenhouse gases, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous decade.

“One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it is warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Schmidt said in a statement.

Today, it exceeds 390 parts per million. All around the globe people experienced warmer temperatures in 2012. The continental US, on the other hand endured its warmest year on record by far, according to NOAA, the official keeper of US weather records.

“The US temperatures in the summer of 2012 are an example of a new trend of outlying seasonal extremes that are warmer than the hottest seasonal temperatures of the mid 20th century,” GISS director James E Hansen said.