Earth's Climate Flunks
Its Annual Physical
By Ray Cunneff
August 1, 2017
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported today in its “State of the Climate” report that in 2017 greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and global sea levels reached record highs and that the last four years have been the warmest ever recorded.
Described as Earth’s “annual physical,” the report was co-authored by 524 authors from 65 countries, and also confirmed 2017 as either the second- or third- hottest year since records have been kept.
The figures vary slightly because record high temperatures were not influenced in 2017 by El Niño, a climatic event that creates warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and exerts a significant effect on global weather.
The last El Niño from 2015 to 2016 was one of the the strongest El Niño events since 1950, according to NOAA.
The global ocean surface temperature in 2017 warmed to a near-record high, falling just short of the 2016 mark. The world’s oceans are approximately 3 inches higher than they were in 1993 and are rising at an average 1.2 inches per decade, according to the findings.
In 2017 the planet also experienced a record low maximum extent of sea ice in the Arctic, the continuation of an “unprecedented multiyear coral reef bleaching” event that decimated reefs around the world, and devastating extreme weather, including cyclones and wildfires.
For the 38th year in a row, glaciers around the globe retreated.
In November 2017, the White House surprisingly signed off on a lengthy report by more than a dozen federal agencies that reached a conclusion about climate change that President Donald Trump and his anti-science acolytes refuse to accept: that the climate crisis is real and human activity is largely to blame.
The report states that Planet Earth has entered the warmest period “in the history of modern civilization” and "It is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century”.
“In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.”
Yet this latest report comes as the Trump administration works to scrap environmental regulations, including Obama-era policies to rein in emissions, and continues to express doubt about the threat of climate change.