Category Archives: WMO

2013 among top 10 warmest years: a civilisational response is urgently required

WarmingCan you see a pause in the warming of the planet?

The World Meteorological Organisation have just released the following press release:

The year 2013 was among the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest year, with a global land and ocean surface temperature that was 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03°C (0.05°F) higher than the most recent 2001–2010 decadal average. 

Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century. The warmest years on record are 2010 and 2005, with global temperatures about 0.55 °C above the long-term average, followed by 1998, which also had an exceptionally strong El Niño event.

At this point many commentators, scientists and bloggers will say “Well look at that. We told you the planet is warming.” Of course those that deny climate change will mutter about conspiracies, the “pause in warming” and such nonsense.

But let us move well beyond that conversation, cherry picking of facts and the finger-pointing that takes place every time a press release such as this comes out.

When I look at this graph I see a planetary and civilisational emergency. I see a looming catastrophe if we don’t begin advanced planning.

What I see is the urgent need to examine how we adapt to a changed climate.

Many hard decisions are before us.

Time to consider our options.

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Highlights of WMO state of climate report in 2012: the years 2001-2011 the warmest on record

Still a pale blue dot at this point

Still a pale blue dot at this point

The World Meteorological Organisation has released its provisional Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2012, and it makes sobering reading.

Some of the highlights worth noting:

The last eleven years (2001–2011) were among the top warmest years on record, and the first ten months of 2012 indicate that this year will not be an exception. The year was characterized by unusual warmth across most of the globe’s land areas and a weak-to moderate La Niña at the beginning of the year…

Which puts lie to the claim “warming stopped 16 years ago”. Across the globe, regions experienced record temperatures:

During the first ten months of 2012, above-average temperatures affected most of the globe’s land surface areas, most notably North America, southern Europe, western and central Russia, and parts of northern Africa. However, cooler-than-average conditions were observed across Alaska and parts of northern and eastern Australia.

And:

During the first ten months of 2012, above-average temperatures affected most of the globe’s land surface areas, most notably North America, southern Europe, western and central Russia, and parts of northern Africa. However, cooler-than-average conditions were observed across Alaska and parts of northern and eastern Australia.

Climate extremes are fast becoming the norm:

Major heat waves impacted the Northern Hemisphere during the year, with the most notable heat waves occurring in early Northern Hemisphere spring (March–May) across the contiguous United States and Europe. Summer-like temperatures affected a large portion of the U.S. and Europe throughout most of March 2012. The extraordinary warm spell resulted in nearly 15,000 new daily records for high maximum and minimum temperatures across the contiguous United States during March 2012, nearly double the number of broken records experienced during the August 2011 heat wave. The heat continued into the Northern Hemisphere summer (June–August), exacerbating drought conditions and fuelling wildfires. Greenland, which had above-average temperatures for much of the year, recorded its all time highest May maximum temperature, when temperatures soared to 24.8°C at Ivittuut/Narsarsuaq on May 29th…

And:

During April and May 2012, most of China experienced exceptional warmth, with most areas having anomalies as high as 5°C above the 196 1–1990 average.

The world saw extrme drought and wildfires:

2012 began with severe to exceptional drought, as defined by the North American Drought Monitor (NADM), across the south central and southeastern contiguous United States and the northern half of Mexico. In the southern Plains of the U.S., the 2012 drought was a continuation of severe drought conditions which developed in 2011. Throughout 2012, drought conditions evolved across the United States, improving in some areas while deteriorating in others. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), nearly two-thirds of the contiguous United States (65.5 percent) was considered to be in moderate to exceptional drought…

Northern Hemisphere summer precipitation across sub-Saharan Africa was above average, with much of western Africa—specifically Senegal, southern Mauritania, western and eastern Mali, Niger, northern Burkina Faso—having 40 percent or more above normal precipitation, while several countries in the Gulf of Guinea and eastern Africa had precipitation deficits, recording only 70 percent of normal precipitation.

And:

Devastating floods impacted Pakistan during September 2012. Monsoonal rains prompted deadly floods across Pakistan, with Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh the hardest hit regions. Over 5 million people and over 400,000 hectares of crops have been affected by floods, with more than 460,000 houses and infrastructures damaged or destroyed.

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