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Climate Change: Living in a warming world

Posted: 9:06 AM, Sep 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-16 12:31:43-04
Climate Change - Hottest years
Hottest years on record

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The United Nations Climate Summit is set for Monday, Sept. 23, and in advance of this historic event, 10News is taking a deeper dive into climate change.

Today, we start with the data, and there's a lot. The past five years have been the warmest on record globally and the 20 warmest years have occurred over the past 22 years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) named July 2019 as the hottest month on record with Dust Bowl-era heat records being surpassed by more recent human-caused warming from greenhouse gases.

Globally, the recent warming has been sharpest in the Arctic, where sea ice extent set a new record low in July. Despite being over 3,000 miles away, we feel the impacts here.

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"Changes in the arctic sea ice can have an impact on us here in the U.S. and in the mid-latitudes. The arctic sea ice is very bright and white, it reflects a lot of the suns energy and helps keep the planet cool. But the ice starts to shrink and melt it starts to expose the dark ocean which warms up." said NASA scientist Nathan Kurtz.

Warming temperatures also increase the frequency and intensity of other extreme weather -- harming health, stressing food and water supplies, shifting seasons and ecosystems, elevating sea levels and threatening ways of life.

Warming oceans and melting land ice have caused oceans to rise about 8 inches since 1900, which leads to more frequent coastal flooding and more extreme rainfall events, like Hurricane Harvey.

Drought and sweltering heat have fueled an extended wildfire season out west. Daily heat records have outpaced record lows by 3-to-1 since 2015.

According to Climate Central, the hottest years on record and most disaster-filled years all came in the past decade. Climate change is causing a warming world and the impacts have been felt across the country.

Every day this week 10News will focus on an element of climate change.