For Immediate Release
Federal Science Agencies Release Annual Temperature Data, Highlighting Urgent Need for Action on Global Warming
Below is a statement from climate scientist Melanie Fitzpatrick at the Union of Concerned Scientists:
"This year's data show that global warming continues to increase our climate's baseline temperature. Even some moderate cooling effects from cyclical weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean failed to dampen the impact global warming had this year. Heat-trapping emissions from human activity have caused most of the increase in global average temperature since the middle of the twentieth century.
"Both ocean and land temperatures in Earth's Arctic polar region continue to warm more quickly than the rest of the planet. The record decrease in Arctic sea ice seen each summer is a canary in the coal mine. This year, it shrunk to its second-lowest extent ever recorded.
"The incoming U.S. administration and Congress have committed to policies that would reduce emissions enough to help prevent the worst consequences of global warming. The scientific evidence shows that the window of opportunity to act is still open, but that further delay will only lead to excessive warming."
For data from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies, go to: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/.
For data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climate Data Center, go to: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20081216_climatestats.html.
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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.