Steve Connor: A clear picture of accelerated warming that shows no sign of levelling off

Share
Related Topics

The latest and most comprehensive analysis of the global climate shows that every indicator of climate change points to the fact that global warming is for real and that it has not "stopped" as some sceptics have suggested.

It has also found that something like 93 per cent of the extra heat has been taken up by the oceans, so it is hardly surprising that this additional warming may be having a detrimental impact on the microscopic plant life that forms the base of the marine food chain.

The 2009 State of the Climate report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) brings together for the first time nearly 50 independent records of global trends covering 10 aspects of climate change, from temperature rises over land and sea and increases in ocean heat content and sea level to decreases in snow cover, the size of glaciers and the area covered by Arctic sea ice.

When compiled in one report, the clear and unambiguous picture that emerges is one of a world experiencing a consistent warming which appears to have accelerated since the middle of the 20th century with no signs of it levelling off as a result of the much-trumpeted "global cooling" promulgated by some sceptics.

The amount of heat now entering the oceans as a result of global warming is estimated to be equivalent to the energy of 500 electric lightbulbs, each of 100 watts, for every one of the 6.7 billion people living in the world today. "The point is, it's a heck of a lot of heat," said Peter Stott, one of the Met Office's scientists who contributed to the NOAA report.

"When we follow decade-to-decade trends using different data sets and independent analyses from around the world, we see clear and unmistakable signs of a warming world," he added.

Much of the heat is accumulating in the surface layers of the oceans, where the phytoplankton live, but some of it is now being detected in the lower depths, some 6,000 feet below the surface. One direct effect of this additional heat is that sea levels are rising due to the thermal expansion of water – one of the 10 indicators of climate change highlighted in the report.

Global average temperatures have increased by 0.56C over the past 50 years and, although apparently small, this rise has already altered the planet, according to Jane Lubchenco, a marine scientist and head of the NOAA.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant / Learning Support Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Welsh Speaking Learning Support Assistant

£70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Welsh Speaking Learning Support Assis...

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The influx of hundreds of thousands of eastern European workers has significantly altered the composition of some parts of Britain  

Immigration is the issue many in Labour fear most

Nigel Morris
The Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf heads the inquiry  

Why should Fiona Woolf be expected to remember every dinner date?

Mark Steel
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker