'05 continues warming trend, studies say

December 16, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Virtually tying 1998 as the hottest year on record, 2005 continued a warming trend that has increased rapidly in recent decades and offered more evidence that the planet is experiencing a drastic climate shift.

Four different temperature analyses released yesterday varied by a few hundredths of a degree, but agreed it was either the hottest or second-hottest since records began being kept in the late 1880s. Unlike 1998, however, 2005 had no El Nino, a natural phenomenon, to warm ocean waters.

The planet has been slowly warming for a century, and the 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1990, a trend that a majority of scientists say is in large part attributable to human production of greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere.

This year saw above-average temperatures across the majority of the planet, with extreme warmth in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere.

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