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Climate science and the state of our climate

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 2012 is predicted to be slightly warmer than 2011, one of the top ten warmest years on record.

Global sea level fell by about half a centimeter during the second half of 2010 and first half of 2011. NASA scientists say this was due to a change from an El Niño to a strong La Niña during 2010, which influenced rainfall patterns across the globe.

Scientists are increasingly concerned about the impact of freshwater in the Arctic on the “ocean conveyor belt” which redistributes heat around the planet (1, 2, 3). Studies have revealed new information on the pathways and content of freshwater over the Arctic Ocean, including previously unknown redistribution of freshwater during the past decade.

The IPCC’s summary for policymakers of the “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (IPCC SREX), which was released late last year, points to a likely increase in frequency of heavy precipitation over many regions, and very likely increase in frequency, length, and/or intensity of heat waves in most land areas. The full report will be available in March 2012.

Global CO2 emissions grew 5.9 % in 2010, and exceeded 9Pg of carbon for the first time. The increase is seen as the result of strong emissions growth in emerging economies, returned growth of emissions in developed economies, and an increase in fossil-fuel intensity of the world economy. A new UN global initiative – Sustainable Energy for All – seeks to reduce emissions through three objectives: ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and, double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.


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