Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Watch 60 Years Of Climate Change In 15 Seconds

After NASA scientists analyzed data from 1,000 meteorological stations from around the globe, they found a strange pattern.

Perspective, they say, is everything. Donald Trump may not believe in climate change because it's cold during North American winters, but last week, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) released a compelling report to the contrary, based on a 60-year temperature analysis from 1,000 meteorological stations from around the globe. The scientists found that 2013 was one of the warmest years on record, "continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures" driven by man-made emissions.

NASA scientists also made a visualization that illustrated the more disturbing developments in climate change in recent years. Other than the year 1998, the 10 warmest years in more than a century all took place in the new millennium. As you can see below, the changing colors reflect the overall change in temperature.

"Long-term trends in surface temperatures are unusual and 2013 adds to the evidence for ongoing climate change," GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said in a press release. "While one year or one season can be affected by random weather events, this analysis shows the necessity for continued, long-term monitoring."

The average temperature in 2013, 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit, was 1.1 F warmer than the mid-20th century baseline, scientists say. Last year, when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed levels of 400 parts per million, the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide reached a higher point than it had at any time in the last 800,000 years.

Point is, weather is different from climate. And when you take a step back, science has again and again pointed to the relationship between the postwar industrial boom and the rise of greenhouse gases throwing the planet's self-regulation into flux. In recent years, both the Pentagon and foreign governments have cited failure to mitigate climate change as a primary national security concern, as climactic changes threaten supply chains and drive conflict.