The State of the Climate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and issued this week spells out a pretty bleak picture of environmental trends. The report tapped the talents of more than 300 scientists from 48 countries who analyzed data on 37 climate indicators, including sea ice, glaciers and air temperatures.
"The earth is growing warmer and has been for more than three decades," the report says. "A warmer climate means higher sea level, humidity and temperatures in the air and ocean. A warmer climate also means less snow cover, melting Arctic sea ice and shrinking glaciers."
While some dispute the global warming finding, results of a poll released this week indicate continued support in California for AB 32, the embattled state law that calls for Californians to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The report by the Public Policy Institute of California shows 67 percent supporting the law.
Ten key indicators stand out in the State of the Climate report, and all indicate warming trends. Those indicators were ocean heat content, air temperature near surface, temperature over oceans, temperatures over land, humidity, sea level, snow cover, glaciers and sea ice.
The report said most of that heat -- 90 percent-- is being absorbed by the ocean. "Warming has been observed as far as 6,000 feet below the surface, but most of the heat is accumulating in the oceans’ near-surface layers, the report says. "The implications are considerable. First, because water expands as it warms, ocean heating is responsible for much of the sea-level rise we’ve observed. Melting of land-based ice is
responsible for the rest."
The report also said despite fluctuations, such as last year's cold snap in the middle and eastern regions of the United States, the average temperatures continues to climb.
For more on the report and poll, read KQED's Climate Watch.
Photo: Satellite imagery from NOAA shows the decline of Arctic Sea ice over the past 30 years. Both images were taken when the ice was at its lowest in September.