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As if we needed yet more evidence that our globe is getting warmer, the UN World Meteorological Organization announced that 2008 was among the 10 ten warmest years on record. From the UN News Center.

The year 2008 is likely to rank as the 10th warmest year on record since the beginning of the instrumental climate records in 1850, although the global average temperature was slightly lower than previous years of the 21st century, according to the United Nations meteorological agency.

The combined sea-surface and land-surface air temperature for 2008 is estimated at 0.31 degrees Celsius (C) or 0.56 Fahrenheit (F), above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14C, or 57.2F, while the Arctic Sea ice volume during the melt season was its lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

These seemingly small shifts in the average global temperature has major effects on our planet. To wit:

A remarkable occurrence in 2008 was the dramatic disappearance of nearly one-quarter of the massive ancient ice shelves on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. Ice 70 metres thick, which a century ago covered 9,000 square kilometres, has shrunk to just 1,000 square kilometres today, underscoring the 30-year downward trend in Arctic sea ice.

The WMO has more.

Image from Oxfam International’s flickr page. Used under a creative commons license

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