MOL

New York

For climate change activists, this week was marked by an ‘I-told-you-so’ moment after a group of experts from around the world released their annual report indicating that the Earth is getting warmer.

The State of the Climate in 2013 report, published online Thursday by the American Meteorological Society, showed that greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures and other key climate indicators were all on the rise last year. The report, compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world, provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice.

‘These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,’ said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan. ‘This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.’

Climatologists point a finger of blame at record-breaking levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, which are responsible for trapping heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere making the surface of the planet warmer. Emissions that come from burning fossils fuels reached historic highs last year, according to the report.

The levels of CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii hit 400 parts per million for the first time in 2013 - and these changes did not go unnoticed. In Australia, 2013 was the hottest year on record, while in Argentina and New Zealand it was the second and third warmest, respectively.

Air temperature around the world was among the balmiest since record-keeping began in 1880, with 2013 ranked between second and sixth hottest, depending on methods of calculation used by different groups of scientists. As a result of melting ice sheets and warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, sea levels continued rising at a steady pace, adding another one eighth of an inch from the year before.

There was also more bad news for polar bears as the arctic sea ice extent continued to decline while temperatures over land in the region climbed faster than anywhere else on the planet. For example, the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, saw 36 days of temperatures above 80 degrees last summer.

There were more examples of extreme weather events in 2013, like the deadly Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia in November. The monster storm had the highest wind speed ever recorded for a tropical cyclone at 196mph. In addressing the bleak climate trends laid out in the report, Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, compared Earth to a person trying to maintain their weight, only to add a couple more pounds each year, LiveScience reported. ‘We are continuing to see ourselves put on more weight from year to year,’ Karl said during a press conference Thursday.