2005 shaping up to be the warmest year on record

Is it warm in here? Readings from about 7,200 weather stations worldwide indicate that 2005 will probably be the hottest … year … ever — breaking 1998’s record by about one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. The Northern Hemisphere is heating faster, with the average 2005 temperature two-tenths of a degree warmer than in 1998. David Rind from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies says it would take something pretty major, like a big volcanic eruption, to keep 2005 from setting the record. These findings come hot on the heels (ha) of other dramatic signs of climate disruption, from the shrinkage of the Arctic’s summer ice cap to August’s unusually high sea-surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, which may have contributed to the extra-intense hurricanes this season. It’s a predictable outcome of putting so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, says Rind: “At this point, people shouldn’t be surprised this is happening.”