According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climate Data Center, temperatures across the United States were approximately half a degree Fahrenheit warmer from 1981 to 2010 than they were from 1971 to 2010.
The calculations are based on a 30-year baseline average to help predict the average climate conditions from any location as a point of reference, and the figures were calculated from approximately more than 7,500 in the U.S. (The NOAA has been studying the statistics of the earth’s temperatures and publishing their reports once every decade since the 1921-1950 normals were released in 1956).
Not only do the new figures prove to the sceptics that global warming does in fact exist, the calculations will also be used by some states as a standard for which electric and gas companies can charge customers according to their utility rates. For instance, farmers specifically rely on these calculations to decide crop selection and planting times, and agribusinesses use the calculations as well to monitor the temperatures during the growing season.
The temperatures are based on the both daily and monthly minimum and maximum temperatures, as well as precipitation and snowfall statistics.
Scientists believe that the rise in temperature is due to the fact that there has been a build-up in greenhouse gases between the 1970s and the 2000s, and that the rising temperatures could be linked to the burning of fossil fuels as well as the composition of atmospheric carbon dioxide, also known as “the most rapidly increasing greenhouse gas.”
The study reveals that nearly every continental state in the U.S., specifically Michigan, had an increase in the annual maximum and minimum temperatures. While Michigan is one of the states with the highest increase, Minnesota and Wisconsin had an increase in minimum temperatures. However, the most alarming statistic revealed a drastic increase in Arctic temperatures, especially in Greenland and other Arctic regions. (One scientist stated that the Greenland ice sheet lost a “record amount of mass,” and the melt rate was the highest it has been since 1958).
Although the data shows that the rising temperature can be seen in all seasons, winter temperatures have increased at a much higher rate than summer temperatures. Furthermore, the study also shows that 2010 tied with 2005 as the earth’s warmest year in recorded history.
However, other scientists have stated that the calculations are “misleading” because the temperature patterns differ within each 30-year normal.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blogger for First in Education where she’s recently written about medical sonographer jobs along with a guide to reporters & correspondent careers. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, traveling, and working with origami.