2011: the ninth warmest year on record according to NASA

Image credit: NASA

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, released an updated report on Thursday and it’s official–2011 was the ninth warmest year on record. Nine of the ten warmest years have happened since 2000; 1998 is the only year in the 20th century on that list.

“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS Director James E. Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”

There’s also a very short video on the site showing the warming trend between 1884 and 2011. (Unfortunately, it’s too large to post here.)

As for predictions:

Hansen said he expects record-breaking global average temperature in the next two to three years because solar activity is on the upswing and the next El Niño will increase tropical Pacific temperatures. The warmest years on record were 2005 and 2010, in a virtual tie.

“It’s always dangerous to make predictions about El Niño, but it’s safe to say we’ll see one in the next three years,” Hansen said. “It won’t take a very strong El Niño to push temperatures above 2010.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that the current La Niña will remain in place into this Spring.