NOAA: 2012 among 10 hottest years

The study attracted attention from the Obama administration Tuesday, as the White House Council on Environmental Quality tweeted about the report with the hashtag #ActOnClimate.

The president is pushing a climate agenda that calls for strengthening regulations to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. Liberal and green groups have praised the effort, while Republicans, coal-state Democrats and industry have criticized it as regulatory overreach that will damage the economy.

The NOAA study says global carbon emissions are expected to hit a record for 2012, fueling global warming that the overwhelming majority of scientists say is caused by greenhouse gas emissions stemming from human activity.

NOAA noted that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide eclipsed 400 parts per million for the first time at several Arctic locations last year. Many climate advocates and scientists have called the 400 ppm-figure a tipping point for climate change.

The study noted sea levels reached a global high, climbing upwards at an average annual rate of about 3.2 millimeters each year for the past two decades. Oceans also were near their warmest levels ever measured.

Many scientists say those conditions exacerbate devastating storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which slammed the East Coast last fall.

While climate scientists generally avoid fingering climate change as the cause of individual extreme weather events, they largely agree it intensifies such incidents.

The study looked at data from 384 scientists across 52 countries and was published in the American Meteorological Society’s journal.

Among the other conditions measures were Arctic sea ice, humidity and stratospheric temperature.