A valuable statistic to know when discussing climate change and global warming is that 18 out of the past 19 years have so far been the warmest years that have ever been recorded here on Earth, while the coldest years on record occurred over 90 years ago.
As Mashable reported on Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA released a statement in which they alerted the public that the past five years have made history as the five hottest years on record, at least since the 1880s when officials started keeping records, which is a startling revelation, and demonstrates that global warming is alive and well despite rumors to the contrary.
But the knowledge that the past five years on Earth have also been the hottest on record becomes even more notable when comparing them with the coldest recorded years.
Climate scientist Simon Donner, who studies global warming from the University of British Columbia, has just brought this to everyone's attention when he posted a list on Twitter of the 20 coldest recorded years that have occurred on Earth, noting that all of these years took place between 1884 and 1929, with the most freezing year of them all being 1904.
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, technology and humans have never looked back, but in the process of all of this progress, the Earth has warmed up significantly, shooting up 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since our obsession with machines first began, and this, in turn, has made it so that cold records being set on Earth are relatively rare today.However, the scarcity of new cold records being set is not nearly as alarming as the fact that over the past decade, the Earth has seen twice as many records for heat as for the reverse. So far, the heat records far outweigh the cold records with heat records totaling 21,461 and cold records only 11,466.
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, has noted that the trend we are seeing where cold records are on the decline with heat records rising is exactly what you would expect to see as the logical result of a warming Earth.
"In fact, we are seeing an increase in daily heat records, and we are NOT seeing an increase in daily cold records. The trend is in exactly the direction we would expect as a result of a warming planet."With carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases significantly heating things up for the planet, scientists have seen the Earth growing steadily warmer, especially over the past 40 years. In fact, levels of carbon dioxide alone have increased so dramatically that scientists note that they are higher now than they have been in 15 million years, which is quite a feat.
So when you're pondering whether climate change is real, remember that the Earth is now the warmest it has ever been in 120,000 years and compare this with the knowledge that the coldest years on record all occurred over 90 years ago.