Greenhouse gas, sea level, global temperature data points to a warming climate, says the American Meteorological Society in its latest annual climate report, State of the Climate 2013.
Scientists from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world.
According to NOAA, it 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, Ph.D. "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."
Related: USDA Invests in 'Climate Hubs'
The report uses dozens of climate indicators to track patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system, including greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover.
These indicators often reflect many thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets. The report also details cases of unusual and extreme regional events.
Highlights of the report:
• Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958.
• Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth's surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used.
• Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El Niño Southern Oscillation-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.
Ag and climate action
The climate report follows a White House announcement on Wednesday that focused on expanded efforts to guard the U.S. from adverse effects of climate change.
President Obama said the efforts include early actions recommended by the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
In addition to initiatives to fund health preservation and digital mapping to help manage flood risk and assist water resource planning, mitigation of coastal erosion and storm surge impacts, the announcement also included action by the USDA that will focus on improving electricity infrastructure and safeguarding access to drinking water amid drought.
The announcement, however, did not specify how much money will be allocated to drought preparedness, though USDA has been involved in separate efforts to fund "Climate Hubs" that will address risk adaptation and mitigation to climate change.
The Climate Hubs, announced earlier this year, will address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, floods and droughts on a regional basis, "aiming to translate science and research into information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on ways to adapt and adjust their resource management," USDA said.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack first announced his intention to create the Hubs in 2013.