This is what the government says on the issue.
According to the EPA, the global average temperature increased by more than 1.4°F over the last century.1 In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the decade from 2000 to 2010 was the warmest on record, and 2010 was tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record. 2 Rising global temperatures have also been accompanied by other changes in weather and climate. Many places have experienced changes in rainfall resulting in more intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. The planet's oceans and glaciers have also experienced changes: oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. 3 All of these changes are evidence that our world is getting warmer.
Experts say if the earth warms up an additional 3-4 degrees, it would be a change so dramatic, it could challenge our survival.
Lets take a quick look at some of the changes we have seen so far this year:
NOAA says, the last 12 months ending in June of 2012, was the warmest period since record-keeping began in 1895.
This record heat is responsible for the deaths of dozens of people, sky high cooling bills, and now possible sky high food costs. About 64 percent of the continental United States was experiencing drought in July, with water supplies running dangerously low in some areas. The heat is also taking a toll on agriculture which will lead to higher costs from cereals, to dairy, and beef.
You can also add the misery of bugs.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the record heat is bringing out the ants, fleas, ticks, earwigs and black widows. These are a few of the pests making a strong showing this year. A spokesperson for the agency says, "Insects are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperatures are regulated by the temperature of their environment," NPMA public affairs officer Missy Henriksen said in a statement. "In cold weather, insects' internal temperatures drop, causing them to slow down. But in warm weather, they become more active. Larvae grow at a faster rate, reproduction cycles speed up, and they move faster."
Meanwhile, Greenland has lost most of it's ice cap, with 97% of the ice cover turning to slush. However, scientists say this may all be normal.
Every summer Greenland loses about half of its ice sheet, but this year its almost all gone. Scientist have been keeping tabs on the ice with satellites for a good 30 years. They say the meltdown was so extensive that scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory questioned if it was caused by some kind of malfunction with the equipment. The situation had to be confirmed independently by other climatologists.
This is what they found: By early July , according to the satellite information, 40 percent of the ice was melted. Four days later it was up to 97 percent, and even the area around the highest point of the ice sheet, Summit Station, showed signs of melting. At the same time, a ridge of warm air known as a heat dome was affecting the country, which likely had a lot to do with the melting.
But, this could be a natural cycle: A glaciologist from Goddard, Lora Koenig, also a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data, said in a statement: "Ice cores from the Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time."
Researchers don't know if this will contribute to sea levels rising in Greenland, but if it happens again in the next few years, that could threaten the stability of the ice sheet, which would mean major cause for concern.
So whether you think this is all man-made or Mother Nature is going through her mid-life crisis, we are like fish in a fishbowl. We need to figure out how to keep our water clean or else.