Despite what the Fox News Channels and right-wingnut blogs will have you believe, the 2000s were the warmest decade on record, even more so than the 1990s, which is now the second warmest decade on record. Starting to see a pattern yet?
According to the National Climatic Data Center, the earth’s surface temperature was more than 1 degree higher than normal and nearly 1 degree higher than normal all decade. Doesn’t seem like much? Scientists predict that the worst effects of global warming will strike once the earth’s surface temperature is only about 3 degrees higher than normal.
What’s more is that the 1 degree represents a massive .35 degree spike over the 1990s during which the earth’s temperature was around .65 degrees higher than normal.
Already the one degree increase has resulted in destabilized weather systems and record breaking temperatures, both hot and cold.
Just last year the country saw the biggest fire in Los Angeles history, the longest winter drought in Texas’ history, some of the most active tornado seasons of all time in Tornado Alley, and record snowfalls in the Plains States and the Pacific Northwest.
Elsewhere, we saw one of the heaviest snow storms in England’s history and the heaviest in 20 years, unlikely tropical storms in western Europe, record snowfalls in China, and a barrage of strong typhoons in southern Asia.
If these are the effects of a climate that is just one degree higher than normal, what will the world see when the temperature rises another degree? What will be left of the world when temperatures go up another two degrees?