Global Warming QuotesGlobal climate change needs global action now. The alarm bells ought to be ringing in every capital of the world.
-John Gummer, British Environment Secretary quoted by Roy Greenslade, The Observer, 21 Jul 96
Climate change is no longer a doomsday prophecy, it's a reality.
-Astrid Heiberg president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies quoted in Grist Magazine, 23 Jun 99
We are about half a century away from being ecologically and economically bankrupt because of global warming
-Andrew Simms, quoted in “Demand for 'Kyoto tax' on the US,” BBC News, 6 Dec 03
Absent the rapid mobilization of climate advocates at every level -- and the pooling of all their energy, creativity, and resources into a coordinated, no-holds-barred campaign -- we will soon be crossing the threshold into climate hell.
-Ross Gelbspan, “The Big Name Game,” Grist Magazine, 31 Jul 2002
So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun. As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong. We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.
-Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Oslo, Norway, 10 Dec 2007
A slight adjustment to U.S. temperature records has bumped 1998 as the hottest year in the country's history and made the Dust Bowl year of 1934 the new record holder, according to NASA. But the re-ranking did not affect global records, and 1998 remains tied with 2005 as the hottest year on record, climatologist Gavin A. Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York said Tuesday. The data adjustment changes "the inconsequential bragging rights for certain years in the U.S.," he said. But "global warming is a global issue, and the global numbers show that there is no question that the last five to 10 years have been the hottest period of the last century.
-Thomas H. Maugh II, “1934: new hottest year in U.S on record,” Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug 2007
Last year was the warmest recorded on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic, U.S. space agency NASA said on Tuesday. All five of the hottest years since modern record-keeping began in the 1890s occurred within the last decade, according to analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In descending order, the years with the highest global average annual temperatures were 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, NASA said in a statement. "It's fair to say that it probably is the warmest since we have modern meteorological records," said Drew Shindell of the NASA institute in New York City. "Using indirect measurements that go back farther, I think it's even fair to say that it's the warmest in the last several thousand years."
-Deborah Zabarenko, “2005 was warmest year on record: NASA,” Reuters UK, 24 Jan 06
The global land and ocean surface temperature was the sixth warmest on record in February, but a record warm January helped push the winter (December-February) to its highest value since records began in 1880 (1.30 degrees F/0.72 degrees C above the 20th century mean). …Separately, the global December-February land-surface temperature was the warmest on record, while the ocean-surface temperature tied for second warmest in the 128-year period of record, approximately 0.1 degree F (0.06 degrees C) cooler than the record established during the very strong El Niño episode of 1997-1998. During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a rate near 0.11 degrees F (0.06 degrees C) per decade, but the rate of increase has been three times larger since 1976, or 0.32 degrees F (0.18 degrees C) per decade, with some of the largest temperature increases occurring in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
-National Climatic Data Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, “Climate of 2007-February in Historical Perspective,” 15 Mar 07
In a startling report, the WMO [World Meteorological Organisation], which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change. …The extreme weather it documents, such as record high and low temperatures, record rainfall and record storms in different parts of the world, is consistent with predictions of global warming. Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate not only becomes hotter but much more unstable. "Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase," the WMO said, giving a striking series of examples.
-The Independent UK, “Reaping the Whirlwind: Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert” 3 Jul 03
Now we are all learning what it's like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence... Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and -- now -- Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. “For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind,” The Huffington Post, 29 May 06
This year has been one of the hottest on record, scientists in the United States and Britain reported yesterday, a finding that puts eight of the past 10 years at the top of the charts in terms of high temperatures. Three studies released yesterday differ slightly, but they all indicate the Earth is rapidly warming. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies has concluded 2005 was the warmest year in recorded history, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.K. Meteorological Office call it the second hottest, after 1998. All three groups agree that 2005 is the hottest year on record for the Northern Hemisphere, at roughly 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the historical average.
-Juliet Eilperin, “2005 Continues the Warming Trend,” Washington Post, 16 Dec 05
New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures. Climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies calculated the record-breaking global average temperature, which now surpasses 1998's record by a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, from readings taken at 7,200 weather stations scattered around the world.
-Juliet Eilperin, “World Temperatures Keep Rising With a Hot 2005,” Washington Post, 13 Oct 05
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
-attributed to Mark Twain (1835–1910)
The benefits of biofuels have come under increasing attack in recent months, as scientists took a closer look at the global environmental cost of their production. These latest studies, published in the prestigious journal Science, are likely to add to the controversy. These studies for the first time take a detailed, comprehensive look at the emissions effects of the huge amount of natural land that is being converted to cropland globally to support biofuels development. The destruction of natural ecosystems — whether rain forest in the tropics or grasslands in South America — not only releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned and plowed, but also deprives the planet of natural sponges to absorb carbon emissions. Cropland also absorbs far less carbon than the rain forests or even scrubland that it replaces. Together the two studies offer sweeping conclusions: It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in new lands being cleared, either for food or fuel.
Elisabeth Rosenthal, “Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat,” The New York Times, 8 Feb 08
"The advent of changes in global climate signals that we are now living beyond the Earth's capacity to absorb a major waste product"
-Anthony McMichael, Australian National University, Canberra quoted in “Global warming 'a major health risk',” Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Feb 06
Rising ocean temperatures linked by some studies to tropical storms are very likely a result of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, according to new research. The lead author of the new study, Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of the Energy Department, said the findings suggested that further warming would probably make hurricanes stronger in coming decades… The researchers compared a century of observed temperature changes with those produced in more than 80 computer simulations of how oceans respond to natural and human influences on the climate. The simulations were generated on 22 different computer models at 15 different research centers. The simulations correctly mimicked the cooling caused by plumes from volcanic eruptions, which temporarily block the sun. At the same time, the authors said, the only warming influence that could explain the changes in the oceans was the buildup of heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases in the air.
-Andrew C. Revkin, “Study Links Tropical Ocean Warming to Greenhouse Gases,” The New York Times, 12 Sep 06
The United States emitted more greenhouse gases in 2004 than at any time in history, confirming its status as the world's biggest polluter. Latest figures on the US contribution to global warming show that its carbon emissions have risen sharply despite international concerns over climate change. The figures, which were quietly released on Easter Monday, reveal that net greenhouse gas emissions during 2004 increased by 1.7 per cent on the previous year, equivalent to a rise of 110 million tons of carbon dioxide. This is the biggest annual increase since 2000 and means that in 2004 - the latest year that full data is available - the US released the equivalent of nearly 6,300 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
-Steve Connor, “Scientists condemn US as emissions of greenhouse gases hit record level.” The Independent [U.K.], 19 Apr 06
For the first time in history, my community has had to use air conditioners. Imagine that, air conditioners in the Arctic.
- Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier Mar 07
The amount of ice being formed in the Arctic winter has declined sharply in the past two years, a finding that NASA climate researchers say significantly increases their confidence that greenhouse gases created by autos and industry are warming the Arctic and the globe. For years, scientists have reported a steady decrease in summertime Arctic ice, but they had never before found a similar reduction in the amount of ice being created during the frigid and dark Arctic winter. This lack of effect on the Arctic winter was one flaw in the scientific models of global warming, which predicted a steady decrease in ice formation. But a new paper by Josefino Comiso, a senior research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, found precisely the reduction in wintertime ice over the past two years that the model had predicted. The past two winters each produced 6 percent less ice than the average amount measured for almost three decades. "This amount of Arctic sea ice reduction the past two consecutive winters has not taken place before during the 27 years satellite data has been available," Comiso said. "In the past, sea ice reduction in winter was significantly lower per decade compared to summer sea ice retreat. What's remarkable is that we've witnessed sea ice reduction at 6 percent per year over just the last two winters, most likely a result of warming due to greenhouse gases.
-Marc Kaufman, “Decline in Winter Arctic Ice Linked to Greenhouse Gases,” The Washington Post, 14 Sept 06
The Greenland ice sheet is melting three times faster today than it was five years ago, according to a new study. The finding adds to evidence of increased global warming in recent years and indicates that melting polar ice sheets are pushing sea levels higher, the authors report. According to the study, Greenland ice loss now amounts to more than 48 cubic miles (200 cubic kilometers) each year.
- John Roach, “Greenland Ice Sheet Is Melting Faster, Study Says,” National Geographic News, 10 Aug 06
The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in a century, continuing a trend toward less summer ice that is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, various experts on the region said today. The findings are consistent with recent computer simulations showing that a buildup of smokestack and tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases could lead to a profoundly transformed Arctic later this century in which much of the once ice-locked ocean is routinely open water in summers. It also appears that the change is becoming self sustaining, with the increased open water absorbing solar energy that would be reflected back into space by bright white ice, said Ted A. Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., which compiled the data along with NASA. "Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," Dr. Scambos said. "The consecutive record-low extents make it pretty certain a long-term decline is underway."
-Andrew C. Revkin, “Arctic Ice Cap Shrank Sharply This Summer, Experts Say,” NY Times, 28 Sep 05
In the past century, average global temperatures at the earth’s surface climbed by about 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit (.6 degrees Celsius) to their highest in at least a millennium. During the past 25 years, the rate of temperature increase has been even greater, about 3.6 degrees F, if extrapolated over a century. The ten warmest years since 1860 have all occurred since 1990, with 1998 being the warmest of all, according to the federal National Climatic Data Center. The years 2002 and 2003 are virtually tied for second place. At the same time, researchers have documented changes consistent with an enhanced greenhouse effect. The world’s landmasses aren’t cooling off nearly as much as they used to when night falls. Less snow covers the Northern Hemisphere in winter. Less sea ice appears in the Arctic in the spring and summer. Glaciers are retreating and shrinking, sometimes drastically; Mount Kenya’s largest glaciers, by more than 70 percent; and 14 of Spain’s 27 glaciers have disappeared altogether since 1980. Habitats for a number of plants and animals are moving to higher (cooler) latitudes. Warming spells threaten tropical reefs.
-Leslie Allen, “Will Tuvalu Disappear Beneath the Sea?, Smithsonian, Aug 04
Average readings at the 11,141-foot Mauna Loa Observatory, where carbon dioxide density peaks each northern winter, hovered around 379 parts per million on Friday, compared with about 376 a year ago. That year-to-year increase of about 3 parts per million is considerably higher than the average annual increase of 1.8 parts per million during the past decade, and markedly more accelerated than the 1-part-per-million annual increase recorded a half-century ago, when observations were first made here. Asked to explain the stepped-up rate, climatologists were cautious, saying data needed to be further evaluated. One leading climatologist, Ralph Keeling, whose father, Charles D. Keeling, developed methods for measuring carbon dioxide, noted that the rate "does fluctuate up and down a bit," and said it was too early to reach conclusions. But he added: "People are worried about 'feedbacks.' We are moving into a warmer world."
-Charles J. Hanley, “Carbon dioxide hits record levels,” The Honolulu Advertiser, 23 Mar 04
We find ourselves, one way or another, in the midst of a large-scale experiment to change the chemical construction of the stratosphere, even though we have no clear idea of what the biological or meteorological consequences may be.
-F. Sherwood Rowland quoted in “Annals of Chemistry: In the Face of Doubt,” The New Yorker, 9 Jun 86
The earth is warmer now than it has been at any time in the past 2,000 years, the most comprehensive study of climatic history has revealed. Confirming the worst fears of environmental scientists, the newly published findings are a blow to sceptics who maintain that global warming is part of the natural climatic cycle rather than a consequence of human industrial activity. Prof Philip Jones, a director of the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit and one of the authors of the research, said: "You can't explain this rapid warming of the late 20th century in any other way. It's a response to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
-Ian Sample, “Not just warmer: it's the hottest for 2,000 years,” Guardian Unlimited, 1 Sep 03
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of more than 2,500 scientists) has provided the world community with first class assessments of the soaring temperatures the world is facing, the devastating impacts of these rises and the ways in which we can try and avoid the worst effects of global warming. We now know climate change is real and the hand of humankind in this warming is becoming clearer and clearer. -Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), quoted in "UN Offers to Answer Bush's Climate Change Doubts" Environment News Service 2 Apr 01 I think it's crazy for us to play games with our children's future. We know what's happening to the climate, we have a highly predictable set of consequences if we continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Bill Clinton 42nd U.S. President, United Nations Climate Conference, Montreal, 9 Dec 05
Many of the world's plants and animals are already experiencing extensive disruptions because of global warming, indicating the planet's environment is sensitive to even small climate fluctuations, according to ground-breaking scientific research. The Earth has warmed by only 0.6 degrees over the past century, an almost imperceptible amount by human standards, but enough to threaten coral reefs, spread malaria to new areas and cause shrubs to sprout in Alaska where the extreme cold used to freeze plants to death. "Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible," a team of biologists from Europe, the United States and Australia said in the paper, published in the current issue of Nature magazine… "I think most of us were surprised by not only the magnitude of response to the slight increase in temperatures observed so far, but also by the incredibly wide diversity of species" that have been affected, said Eric Post, a biology professor at Pennsylvania State University and one of the co-authors.
-Martin Mittelstaedt, The Toronto Globe and Mail, "Effects of warming 'clearly visible'," 28 Mar 02
Two new studies that focus on rising ocean temperatures provide some of the strongest evidence yet that humans are to blame for global warming. The two independent studies, being published today in the journal Science, each used computer models and a new set of global temperature readings from across the world's seas to test if natural climate swings could be responsible for the 0.11 degree warming seen in the upper two miles of the oceans since 1955. Though the increase sounds small, spread over the world's oceans it is a huge amount. It is enough heat, scientists estimated, to satisfy California's energy demands for the next 200,000 years. The studies found that computer simulations of the Earth's climate could not produce the extensive warming seen today without factoring in the presence of man-made pollutants such as greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosol, which act to warm the Earth by trapping heat near the surface. When the pollutants were added to models, the temperature readings generated closely simulated the actual temperature records.
-Usha Lee McFarling, "Studies Point to Human Role in Global Warming" L.A. Times, 13 Apr 01
The world's got a pretty simple choice here. It's between President Bush and our grandchildren.
-Australian Senator Bob Brown calling for a U.S. oil boycott because of President George W. Bush's refusal to sign the Kyoto climate change treaty
You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.
-Osama bin Laden, “Letter to the American People,” 2.B.ix cited in The Guardian Unlimited, 24 Nov 2002
We really don't have a policy [on climate change]. There's a lot of rhetoric and not a lot of action.
-U.S. Colorado Representative Mark Udall, commenting on Administration’s plan to study global warming for five more years before addressing problem, quoted by Associated Press 10 Jul 02
We need to see the connection between global warring and global warming, and it's oil. Sustainability is the path to peace.
-Dennis Kucinith, “Kucinich on the Record,” interview by Amanda Griscom Little, Grist, 1 Aug 07
The warmest year on record is 1998, but the year 2002 will be recorded as a close second. The World Meteorological Organization forecasts in its annual global climate status report that 2002 will replace last year as the second warmest in the instrumental record. The warmest year in the 1860 to present record for land and sea surface areas remains 1998. The global mean surface temperature for 2002 is expected to be approximately 0.50 degrees Celsius above the 1961-90 annual mean value. The WMO forecast is based on observations to the end of November from a network of land based weather stations, ships and buoys. The data are collected and disseminated on a continuing basis by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the WMO member nations. Currently, 179 nations and six territories are WMO Members. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1987, nine since 1990.
-Environment News Service, "2002 Confirmed as 2nd Warmest Year on Record," 18 Dec 02
Global temperatures in 2001 are expected to be 0.52°C (0.94°F) above the long-term (1880-2000) average, which places 2001 as the second warmest year on record. The only warmer year was 1998 in which a strong El Niño contributed to higher global temperatures. Land temperatures are projected to be 0.77°C (1.39°F) above average and ocean temperatures 0.41°C (0.74°F) above the 1880-2000 mean. This ranks them as 2nd and 3rd warmest on record respectively.
-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Climate of 2001-Annual Review Preliminary Report," 17 Dec 01
The global climate continues to be warmer than normal, the World Meteorological Organization said in its year end analysis. The year 2000 has continued the run of warm years in spite of the persistent cooling influence of the tropical Pacific La Niña. The global average surface temperature for the year 2000 is likely to be about 0.32°C above the climatological average for the period 1961-1990, the agency said. This is similar to 1999, which was the 5th warmest year in the past 140 years, according to records maintained by members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The warmer years were 1998, 1997, 1995 and 1990… The ten warmest years have all occurred since 1983, with eight of these occurring since 1990.
-Environmental News Service, "Weather Experts: Year 2000 Continues Global Warming Trend," 21 Dec 00
The year 2000 is expected to rank as the fifth warmest globally since the instrumental temperature record began in 1880, just slightly hotter than last year. The only warmer years were 1998, 1997, 1995, and 1990, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Global temperatures were expected to have averaged about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term (1880-1999) mean, despite cooler ocean temperatures from a still-active La Nina. The 1990s were the warmest decade on record, and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1983. During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit -- and over the past 25 years, the rate of warming has more than tripled, to about 3.6 degrees per century.
-Leonie Haimson, "Taking the Earth's temperature for 2000
The first quarter of this year was the warmest such three-month period in the United States during the past 106 years of record keeping, federal officials announced yesterday. The average temperature in January, February and March was 41.7 degrees Fahrenheit, one degree higher than the previous first-quarter record set in 1990, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced. In addition, NOAA data show, the nine-month period from June 1999 to March 2000 was the hottest similar interval on record. "Our climate is warming at a faster rate than ever before recorded," NOAA Administrator D. James Baker told a news conference in New Orleans.
-Curt Suplee, "1st Quarter Sets Record Warmth," The Washington Post, 19 Apr 00
Last year was the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, despite a La Nina weather phenomenon that was supposed to cool off the Earth a bit. And that strengthens the scientific case for an ever-warming world, meteorologists said. Last year also was the fifth hottest ever worldwide, according to new figures being released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Globally, the 1990s were the hottest decade ever recorded
-Seth Borenstein in Seattle Times "Sultry 1990s light a fire under theory of warming" 14 Jan 00
Around the world, the deep oceans are heating, the tundra is thawing, ice shelves are breaking up, sea levels are rising, fish, insects, birds and ecosystems are migrating, violent weather is increasing, and the timing of the seasons has changed -- all from a 1-degree Fahrenheit temperature increase. The scientific consensus is that temperatures will rise an additional 2 to 10 degrees by the end of this century. The world's property insurers saw their losses increase six-fold between the 1980s and the 1990s. Two years ago, the biggest insurer in Great Britain, CGNU, said that unchecked climate change could bankrupt the global economy by 2065. Nature's message is remarkably simple: Cut carbon emissions quickly, globally, and dramatically, or prepare for a future of environmental and economic disintegration.
-Ross Gelbspan, “The Big Name Game,” Grist Magazine, 31 Jul 2002
For a month much of the South has been in the grip of a deadly heat wave that has brought triple-digit temperatures and taken at least 24 lives. The pattern holds across the globe, from a drought in northern China to the toppling of century-old temperature records in Southern Europe. Sardinia saw the mercury reach 120 degrees. What were anomalies have become the norm. A report last week, analyzing U.S. government data from 1948 to 1999, found that there were twice as many days and nights with high heat today as there were 50 years ago. The annual number of heat waves lasting at least four days has tripled. And although storms and floods pack more drama, heat waves take a greater toll. Hurricanes kill an average of 14 people a year and floods kill 99, finds the National Weather Service. Heat kills 193.
–Sharon Begley, "If You Can't Take the Heat…" Time, 7 Aug 00
It is the sense of the scientific community that carbon dioxide from unrestrained combustion of fossil fuels potentially is the most important environmental issue facing mankind.
-U.S. Department of Energy, report, 2 Apr 79 *
A sound-bite culture can’t discuss science very well. Exactly what we’re losing when we reduce biodiversity, the causes and consequences of global warming—these traumas can’t be adequately summarized in an evening news wrap-up.
-Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder, 2002
The earth is now hotter than at any time in recorded human history, according to worldwide research published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. The research is a vital piece of evidence in establishing that pollution is heating up the planet, and that the warming that has been taking place over the last two decades is not merely a natural fluctuation of the Earth's climate as some global warming skeptics have claimed…The new research – carried out at Texas A&M University and published by the Royal Academy in its magazine, Ambio – has examined 15 different records of past climates from all round the world. The evidence included tree rings in Colorado, ice cores from Tibet, old English shipping records, ancient Chinese writings and mud from the bottom of the Sargasso Sea.
-Geoffrey Lean, "Earth Hotter Than At Any Time In History" London Independent, 30 April 00
For the third year in a row, the United States has set a record for winter warmth, federal scientists reported yesterday. With an average temperature of 38.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the three-month period of December 1999 through February 2000 was the warmest winter season in the last 105 years in the contiguous 48 states, the scientists said. That mark slightly surpassed the previous record of 37.8 degrees, set a year ago.
–William K. Stevens, "U.S. Sets Another Record for Winter Warmth," New York Times, 11 Mar 00
A new analysis of global temperature records since 1880 indicates that the spectacular warming of 1997 and 1998 may mark a "change point" at which the planet's surface suddenly began to heat up faster than it had in previous decades, researchers reported yesterday. The current pace of temperature rise is "consistent with a rate of 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius per century," or 5.4 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit, said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). That increase corresponds to the highest rate projected to occur during the entire 21st century by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Karl said. In contrast, the average rate of warming observed for the 20th century as a whole was 0.6 C, or about 1.1 degrees F, prior to the 1997-98 heat spike.
-Curt Suplee, Washington Post, "More Rapid Warming May Follow Heat of 1997-'98", 23 Feb 00
This has been Planet Earth's fifth warmest year since consistent global records began in 1860, British meteorologists said on Thursday. Temperatures around the world in 1999 were about 0,33°C higher than the average for 1961-1990 and about 0,7°C higher than temperatures at the end of the last century, the Meteorological Office reported. Seven of the world's 10 warmest recorded years have been in the 1990s, the Met Office said in a statement.
-"1999 was the Earth's fifth warmest year", The British Meteorological Office reported by Reuters 16 Dec 99
There is no debate among any statured scientists of what is happening. The only debate is the rate at which it is happening.
-James McCarthy, chair of the Advisory Committee on the Environment of the International Committee of Scientific Unions quoted by Ross Gelbspan in The Heat Is On, 1997
The United States, which has contributed most to creating the problem, has not set the example it ought in adopting the protocol or changing its behavior. It is past time for Washington's delegates to lead the world in saying that humankind cannot wait for certainty on every nuance of global warming before taking bold steps to reverse its all-too-evident course.
-Editorial, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6 Nov 00
A large ice shelf that has jutted into the Arctic Ocean from northernmost Canada for at least 3,000 years has broken up over the last two years, providing fresh evidence that the region is warming past thresholds that can produce abrupt changes, scientists said yesterday… The disintegration of the ancient ice shelf — the largest in the Arctic — appears to have been caused both by a century-long warming trend and, more recently, by an accelerated rise in temperatures, the researchers said… "It is part of a long-term process, we believe," said Dr. Warwick F. Vincent, a biologist specializing in arctic ecology at Laval University and an author of the new study. "But the most recent changes are substantial and correlate with this recent increase in warming that we've seen from the 1960's to the present. It's an example where a critical threshold has been passed.
-Andrew C. Revkin, “Huge Ice Shelf Is Reported to Break Up in Canada,” The New York Times, 23 Sep 03
Warming has been detected in the deep oceans, causing the break up of Antarctic ice shelves-- and almost certainly fueling more frequent and severe El Ninos. For at least a century, El Ninos surfaced about every 4.2 years. Since the mid-1970s, however, they have become more frequent and long lasting. The El Nino which ended in late 1995 lasted a record 5 years and 8 months. That is a 1-in-2000 year event. And we have yet to understand the full extent of its biological impacts. The El Nino of 1997-98, which has promoted wildfires in Indonesia and Mexico, record rainfalls in Chile and the beginnings of a famine in New Guinea, is far more severe. And many scientists now believe that the change in El Nino patterns is due specifically to atmospheric heating.
-Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The Climate Crisis, The Cover-Up, The Prescription, 1998
Soaring ocean temperatures in the Caribbean have caused the first mass die-off of coral in the region for 3,000 years. Scientists suspect that the record temperature of 31.5 deg Celsius, recorded in 1998 off Belize, was the result of global warming and the El Nino climate phenomenon. The raised heat level lasted for several months and caused virtually all the Belize coral colonies to bleach and die.
–BBC News, "Coral collapse in Caribbean," 4 May 00
Human-generated increases in greenhouse gas concentrations have combined with natural forces to cause unprecedented warming in the cold Arctic in the 20th century, a phenomenon that could lead to significant changes in the Earth's natural environment, according to a study by U.S. and Canadian scientists, the Commerce Department said. Between 1840 and the mid-20th century, the Arctic warmed to the highest levels of the past four centuries, causing dramatic retreats of glaciers, thawing of permafrost and sea-ice, and changes in terrestrial and lake ecosystems, according to the study published in the Nov. 14 issue of Science magazine, the department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
-400 Years Of Arctic Data Provide Insight Into Climate Change; news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 13 Nov 97
Perennial sea ice - the floating ice that remains year round near the Arctic Circle - could vanish entirely by the end of this century, warns a new study by researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The NASA study concludes that sea ice is now melting about nine percent faster than prior research had indicated, due to rising temperatures and interactions between ice, ocean and the atmosphere.
-Cat Lazaroff, “Arctic Sea Ice May Vanish This Century” Environment News Service, 2 Dec 02
Inuit elders and hunters who depend on the land say they are disturbed by what they are seeing swept in by the changes: deformed fish, caribou with bad livers, baby seals left by their mothers to starve. Just the other year, a robin appeared where no robin had been seen before. There is no word for robin in Inuktitut, the Inuit language… There is increasing evidence that the Arctic, this desert of snow, ice and killing cold wind, one of the most hostile and fragile places on Earth, is thawing. Glaciers are receding. Coastlines are eroding. Lakes are disappearing. Fall freezes are coming later. The winters are not as cold. Mosquitoes and beetles never seen before are appearing. The sky seems to be clapping as thunderstorms roll where it was once too cold for them.
-DeNeen L. Brown, "Signs of Thaw in a Desert of Snow," The Washington Post, 28 May 02
According to scientists, surface melt on Greenland was the highest in recorded history - and extended to elevations previously untouched by melt - while the amount of Arctic sea ice also reached a record low. While some of the accelerated melting appears to be linked to natural atmospheric oscillations, human influence could not be ruled out, said the scientists… Greenland glacier and sea ice melt, combined with disappearing permafrost, the northern expansion of vegetation, and increased fresh water run-off present a "compelling case that something is going on," said Larry Hinzman, of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Measurements of the Greenland ice sheet taken from passive microwave satellite sensors show 685,000 square kilometres of melt, an area more than double that of 1992.
-Molly Bentley, “Record ice loss in Arctic,” BBC News, 9 Dec 02
The snow atop Pastoruri, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Andes and a big draw for mountaineers and skiers, could disappear along with many of Peru's glaciers in the next few years because of global warming, experts say. At 17,000 feet in the northern Andes, the glacier which covers famed Pastoruri has shrunk at a rate of 62 feet every year since 1980. Today it covers a surface area of 0.7 square miles, about 25 percent less than a quarter of a century ago. Pastoruri is one of 18 glacier-capped mountains in Peru suffering the effects of climate change, according Peru's National Environment Council, CONAM."If climatic conditions remain as they are, all the glaciers (in Peru) below 18,000 feet will disappear by around 2015," CONAM's president Patricia Iturregui told Reuters in an interview.
-Monica Vargas, “Peru's Snowy Peaks May Vanish as Planet Heats Up,” Reuters Planet Ark, 3 Aug 04
In Alaska, year-round average temperatures have risen by 5 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1960s, and average winter temperatures soared 8 degrees in that period, according to the federal government. The entire world is expected to warm by 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, predict scientists at the International Panel on Climate Change. Last year was the hottest in Alaska history, and this past winter was the second warmest on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., which has found that Alaskan temperatures began to rise dramatically in 1976. This July, Anchorage recorded its second-highest temperature ever as tourists got suntans.
-Seth Borenstein, Washington Bureau, “The melting tip of the iceberg,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, 3 Aug 03
Global warming may be set to accelerate as rising temperatures in the Arctic melt the permafrost causing it to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a United Nations scientist warned today. An estimated 14 per cent of the world's carbon is stored in Arctic lands. Svein Tveitdal, director of a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) center in Norway that monitors the region, reported that rising Arctic temperatures are melting the solid structure of frozen soil known as permafrost and releasing heat trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. "Permafrost has acted as a carbon sink, locking away carbon and other greenhouse gases like methane, for thousands of years," Tveitdal told a meeting of the United Nation's Governing Council in Nairobi. "But there is now evidence that this is no longer the case, and the permafrost in some areas is starting to give back its carbon. This could accelerate the greenhouse effect."
-Cat Lazaroff, "Melting Arctic Permafrost May Accelerate Global Warming" Environmental News Service, 7 Feb 01
U.S. researchers discovered climate warming might trigger conditions where tundra decomposition will dump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than it's soaked up by accelerated plant growth. This extra carbon dioxide could trigger a "positive feedback," speeding up the rate of global warming even more, warns a study published today in Nature, the influential British research journal. … if all the carbon currently stored as peat, moss and other ancient vegetation in the top metre of tundra decomposed, that would boost global atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide by roughly 25 per cent, says Paul Grogan, a Queen's University expert in northern ecosystems.
-Peter Calami, “Tundra test stuns scientists,” Toronto Star, 23 Sep 04
The evidence continues to accumulate. The planet's 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1980, and the 1990s as a whole have been the warmest decade in an estimated 1200 years. 1998 broke the previous record set in 1997 by a substantial amount, and surpassed the 30-year norm by a full degree, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Moreover, in an unprecedented string, every month between April 1997 and October 1998 established a new temperature record.
-Leonie Haimson, "Climate Change in Short", Grist Magazine, 1999
For the calendar year 1999, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that the United States will have experienced its second warmest year on record since 1900 with an average for 1999 of 55.7 degrees F. This follows 1998's all time record of 56.4 degrees. The values for both years exceed those of the warm decade of the 1930s. 1999 is consistent with a long-term warming trend observed in the United States (0.5 degrees C per century), with a substantial portion of the warming occurring since the mid-1970s...Global temperatures for 1999 are expected to be the fifth warmest on record since 1880, NOAA and the World Meteorological Organization reported. Globally, the departure from the long-term average (1880-1998) was 0.42 degrees C (0.76 F).
-1999: U.S. Experiences Second Warmest Year On Record; Global Temperatures Continue Warming Trend news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 13 Dec 99
Temperature readings taken from more than 600 holes drilled into Earth's surface confirm that a 500-year warming trend accelerated in the latter half of the 20th century. "Some 80 percent of that warming corresponds with the growth of industrialization," said Henry Pollack, a geology professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and co-author of the study in today's issue of Nature… "We do not know of any combination of natural mechanisms that can explain this phenomenon," writes Jonathan Overpeck, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, in an accompanying Nature article.
-John Roach "Borehole temperatures confirm global warming" Environmental Network News, 19 Feb 00
"This is something that needs to be taken quite seriously by all the peoples of the world," Zimmerman (Herman Zimmerman, director of the National Science Foundation's earth sciences division) said. The NSF sponsored the 1997 expedition that extracted the Himalayan ice cores. ...the ice cores record chemical clues of the climatic conditions that existed when the ice was deposited. The most recent core, from the Dasuopu Glacier on the flank of the 26,293-foot Mount Xixabangma, included ice that was laid down more than 12,000 years ago. An analysis of the Dasuopu ice deposited during the last 1,000 years shows a dramatic trend of warming, Mosley-Thompson said. "The last century has been warmer than the previous nine centuries," Mosley-Thompson said, while the last decade has been the warmest period of all.
–Associated Press MSNBC News "Ice Cores Indicate Peak Warming: Himalayan samples record hottest period in millennium" 14 Sept 00