This decade – 2000 to 2009 – was the warmest on record (i.e. since records started being kept in 1880), based on surface temperature figures released by NASA.
Other related figures:
- 2005 was the warmest single year on record.
- 2009 was the second warmest year on record.
- The other warmest years have all occurred since 1998.
Another report – this one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), finds that 2009 tied with 2006 as the fifth warmest year on record, based on measurements taken on land and at sea, and that the decade from 2000 to 2009 was the warmest decade ever measured.
The NASA data shows an upward temperature trend of about 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit per decade over the past 30 years. Average global temperatures have risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.
Earlier this year, at the do-nothing climate change summit conference in Copenhagen, nations agreed on a goal of trying to keep the overall rise in average global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit to try to forestall the worst effects of global warming. But scientists agree that this is too little, too late, to save the planet from going significantly out of balance.