Global temperatures have warmed significantly since 1880, the beginning
of what scientists call the "modern record." In this animation of temperature data from 1880-2011, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.
A sobering report on the "State of the Climate," and our planet, Earth. Last year was one of the 10 warmest years on record, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. While the past 150 years have seen average temperatures rise 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have been since the 1990s—with 2012 ranking somewhere around 8 or 9. Arctic sea ice reached record lows during the summer, while 97 percent of all of Greenland ice melted in the winter—far more than average. Of particular importance in the NOAA report was the rise in ocean heat storage, which reached record levels in 2012. The surface temperature of the oceans was among the 11 warmest on record, and sea levels also reached a record high.