November 14, 2013
UN Reports 2013 Will Be One Of The Warmest Years On Record
[ Watch the Video: UN Report Turns Up The Heat On 2013 ]
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
As you raise a glass of your favorite beverage on this New Year’s Eve, you may want to toast to 2013 being one of the warmest years since modern records began in 1850.
According to a new report from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2013 is currently on track to be tied with 2003 as the seventh warmest year on record, with worldwide land and ocean surface temperatures about 0.86 degrees F above the average temperatures from 1961 to 1990.
“Temperatures so far this year are about the same as the average during 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade on record,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “All of the warmest years have been since 1998 and this year once again continues the underlying, long-term trend.”
“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,” he added. “This means that we are committed to a warmer future.”
The report went on to say that warmer temperatures are causing more and more Arctic ice to melt as well as raising the risk of massive storm development.
While 2013 saw a slight recovery from the unprecedented sea ice minimum of 2012, the WMO report said this year’s ice levels will go down on record as one of the lowest in modern recorded history.
Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum about the same time every year – after the hottest months of the Northern Hemisphere summer. This year the ice shrank to its smallest area on September 13, to nearly 2 million square miles or the sixth smallest on record. The sea ice minimum was 18 percent below the average minimum for the years between 1981 and 2010, the WMO report said.
“Sea levels will continue to rise because of melting ice caps and glaciers,” Jarraud said. “More than 90 percent of the extra heat we are generating from greenhouse gas is absorbed by the oceans, which will consequently continue to warm and expand for hundreds of years.”
While the report noted that 2013 will most likely be an average year for global tropical cyclone activity, it also mentioned the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan – said to be the most powerful storm in recorded history.
“Surface temperatures are only part of the wider picture of our changing climate,” Jarraud said. “The impact on our water cycle is already becoming apparent – as manifested by droughts, floods and extreme precipitation.”
“The Philippines is reeling from the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to hit the country and one of the most intense ever recorded anywhere,” he continued. “It is still struggling to recover from Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) one year ago.”
“Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges,” Jarraud said. “We saw this with tragic consequences in the Philippines.”
The WMO secretary-general concluded by saying, although the connection between climate change and the frequency of tropical storms is still up for debate, many experts agree that warmer temperature raise the risk of these storms becoming more intense.