NOAA releases detailed 2013 “State of the Climate”

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

NOAA released their annual State of the Climate for 2013 on Thursday.  The full report is a collaboration of 425 authors from 57 different countries.  NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC served as the lead editors of the report.

NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. said, “This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.  These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place.”

Here is the full 280-page report in .pdf format, while a nice webpage that breaks down some of the temperature, ocean, and greenhouse gas highlights can be found at http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-2013-highlights

Below is a few excerpts of some key points outlined by NOAA’s announcement/release this week:

Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013.  At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958.

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Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the data set used.  Australia observed its warmest year on record.

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Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of about 2.8 to 3.6 mm per year over the past two decades.

The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century.  Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

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Tropical cyclones near average overall / Historic Super Typhoon: The number of tropical cyclones during 2013 was slightly above average, with a total of 94 storms, in comparison to the 1981-2010 average of 89. The North Atlantic Basin had its quietest season since 1994.  Super Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest cyclone of 2013 – had the highest wind speed ever assigned to a tropical cyclone, with one-minute sustained winds estimated to be 196 miles per hour.

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