Warmest year on record

Last year was one of the 10 warmest years on record with temperatures significantly above the long-term average, according to American scientists.

Scientists from NASA, American Aeronautics and Space Administration and NOAA, the US weather agency, say that 2012 was one of the 10 hottest years since 1880.

Thomas Karl, director of NOAA’s Data Centre, revealed that “the 12 years of the 21st century are among the 14 warmest years since 1880”.

Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at Goddard, adds: “One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant. What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. “

According to James Hansen, a NASA climate scientist, said: “The planet is out of balance and therefore we can predict with confidence that the next decade is going to be warmer.” This global warmth has already shown some unpleasant side effects.

The Arctic sea ice has been melting over the past year, with sea ice cover dropping to 1.32m square miles (3,418,784.31m3), the lowest value ever recorded, in September 2012.

Scientists and environmental groups believe that ice melting is the clearest signal yet of climate change.