18 Nov 2013 11:10am
WINDHOEK, 18 NOV (NAMPA) - The year 2013 is among the top-ten warmest years since modern recordings began in 1850, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says.
Temperatures so far this year are about the same as the average during 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade on record. All of the warmest years have been since 1998, and this year once again continues the underlying, long-term trend.
The coldest years now are warmer than the hottest years before 1998. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other Greenhouse gases reached new highs in 2012, and we expect them to reach unprecedented levels yet again in 2013. This means that we are committed to a warmer future, said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a media statement published on the WMO website last Wednesday.
The southern African countries of Angola and Namibia were gripped by one of the worst droughts in the past 30 years.
Jarraud said surface temperatures are only part of the wider picture of changing climate.
He furthermore warned that the impact on the water cycle is already becoming apparent as manifested by droughts, floods and extreme precipitation.
Although the relationship between climate change and the frequency of tropical cyclones is a matter of much research, it is expected that their impact will be more intense.
The WMOs provisional annual statement on the Status of the Global Climate 2013 provided a snapshot of regional and national temperatures, and was released to negotiators attending the United Nations climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland.
The event commenced on 11 November, and ends on 22 November.
The first nine months of January to September tied with 2003 as the seventh- warmest such period on record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature of about 0.48 degrees Celsius (0.86 F) above the 1961/1990 average.
It noted that January to September 2013 was warmer than the same period in both 2011 and 2012, when La Niña had a cooling influence.
Neither La Niña nor El Niño conditions were present during the first nine months of 2013, and are not expected to emerge by the end of the year.
El Niño/La Niña is a major driver of the climate, and the hottest years on record - 1998 and 2010 - both had El Niño events.
During the first nine months of 2013, most of the worlds land areas had above-average temperatures, most notably in Australia, northern North America, north-eastern South America, northern Africa and much of Eurasia. Cooler-than-average temperatures were observed across a concentrated region of North America, central South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Ecuador; a small region of northern Russia; and parts of north-eastern Asia.
In Asia, Japan had its hottest summer on record. China recorded its warmest August on record (tied with 2006).
The Republic of Korea observed its fourth-warmest July and warmest August, contributing to a record-high summer temperature.