Climate Change: See the Dramatic New Data for Yourself [Slide Show]
Seven graphs, released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, clearly show how global temperature is rising, sea ice is shrinking, snow cover is dwindling, and more
Credits: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
NO SNOW: Although more erratic year to year than the other measures, snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere (million square kilometers) has decreased overall, which reduces the amount of freshwater available each spring.
ICE LOSS: Arctic sea ice melts every summer and refreezes every winter, but the area of the ocean covered by ice in the summer (million square kilometers) has been dropping steadily.
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: The oceans also absorb a large portion of CO2 emissions as the air and ocean surface mix (top graph, in microatmospheres), making the water more acidic (bottom graph, in pH units), which stresses the ability of sea creatures large and small to survive and reproduce.
HOT WATER: The IPCC says the oceans are absorbing as much as 90 percent of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases; heat content, measured in Joules, has risen sharply.
RISING SEAS: Oceans are rising (shown in millimeters) due to several factors, primarily the expansion of water as it warms.
CARBON DRIVER: The largest factor raising global temperatures is an increasing concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere, shown in parts per million (ppm).
RED PLANET: Air temperature at Earth’s surface, shown in degrees Celsius, has risen almost everywhere (white areas indicate insufficient data for the 111-year period).