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State of the Climate 2011 Report – Experts Respond

By Various experts

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a large global report on the state of the climate in July. The report involved 11 Australian scientists, and focused on extreme weather events and the strong La Niña that brought wet conditions to many parts of the world.

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“Most notably, the Arctic continues to warm at a very rapid rate – around twice the rate of warming compared with the rest of the planet... Arctic sea-ice extent was the second lowest on record at the end of the 2011 summer, and is tracking at lowest on record for 2012. In addition, the ocean heat content, a measure of heat stored in the oceans, was also in record territory during 2011, and continues another well-established long-term warming trend.

Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations topped 390 parts per million for the first time in the instrumental record, with individual readings from monitoring stations in 2012 topping 400 parts per million. These are very likely the highest concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the last 100,000 years, and perhaps the last several million years. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are now similar to those during the Pliocene, a much warmer period than any experienced by modern humans.

These indicators show that climate change, especially changes to atmospheric chemistry, are not just continuing but tracking at the more extreme end of possible scenarios.

It is against this backdrop that the increasing frequency of extreme weather events observed in the last decade should be gauged. Increasing greenhouse gases have warmed the entire climate system, such that all weather now occurs in a climate...

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Source: AusSMC