Though much of the U.S. is currently experiencing cold temperatures and snow, it turns out that the previous year has easily made it into the top 10 warmest years since 1880.
NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) today released a report showing that average global surface temperatures in 2013 were 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature ties 2009 and 2006 for the seventh-warmest year on record since 1880.
According to NASA last year's temperatures are 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the mid-20th century baseline that climate scientists use as a comparison to current temperatures. GISS researchers believe that future decades will each be warmer than the last, and pointed out that nine of the warmest years on record since 1880 have occurred since the year 2000.
"Long-term trends in surface temperatures are unusual and 2013 adds to the evidence for ongoing climate change," said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at GISS. "While one year or one season can be affected by random weather events, this analysis shows the necessity for continued, long-term monitoring."
Though individual years and weather patterns may cause temperatures to fluctuate from year-to-year and across the globe, NASA emphasized that 2013 fits well within the currently observed pattern of a long-term rise in global temperatures. According to GISS, the U.S. experienced relatively mild temperatures during 2013, with average temperatures only the 42nd warmest for the country since 1880. In contrast, Australia suffered its hottest year ever since that time during 2013.