2011 Was 9th Warmest Year Since 1880

Posted on January 21, 2012

NASA scientists have found that 2011 was the ninth warmest year since 1880. Nine of the ten top warmest years (since 1880) have occurred since 2000. The map above map shows temperature anomalies in 2011. It shows how much warmer or cooler each region was in 2011 compared with an averaged base period from 1951-1980.

The carbon dioxide level is also rising. NASA says the carbon dioxide level was about 285 parts per million in 1880. By 1960, the average concentration had risen to 315 parts per million and today it exceeds 390 parts per million. NASA says the carbon dioxide level is still climbing.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) director James Hansen says, "So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Nina influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the ten warmest years on record."

Hansen says record-breaking global average temperatures are expected in the next two to three years. He says, "It's always dangerous to make predictions about El Nino, but it's safe to say we'll see one in the next three years. It won't take a very strong El Nino to push temperatures above 2010."


More from Science Space & Robots