January 20, 2011

WMO Confirms Record-Tying Heat In 2010

The average global temperatures recorded throughout the year place 2010 in a tie with 1998 and 2005 for the title of warmest year ever recorded, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced in a press release on Thursday.

The WMO's findings corroborate a Wednesday report by the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), which also found that last year's global surface temperatures were the co-hottest noted by meteorologists since they began keeping track of such statistics back in 1880.

According to the WMO, the official weather agency of the United Nations (UN), the global average temperature in 2010 was 0.95 degrees Fahrenheit above the mean from 1960 through 1990, and mere hundredths above the nominal temperatures of 1998 and 2005. However, due to margin of error, there is no effective way to separate the three years, the organization said.

The NOAA report released on Wednesday had stated that, in 2010, Earth experienced temperatures higher than the 20th century average for the 34th consecutive year. They found that the average combined land and water surface temperatures of both 2005 and 2010 were 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous century's average.

Furthermore, December arctic sea ice levels reached an all-time low, the report said.

"The 2010 data confirm the Earth's significant long-term warming trend," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. "The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998."

In fact, according to the UN's meteorology group, global temperatures over the past decade (2001 through 2010) averaged 0.83 degrees Fahrenheit over the 1961 through 1990 average, making it the hottest decade ever recorded by climatologists.

"The evidence is overwhelming that human activities are driving climate change," Bob Ward, a member of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, said after the release of the NOAA figures on Wednesday.

Those figures "show unequivocally that the Earth is warming and its temperature is at record levels," he added in a statement, prior to the release of the international figures.

The WHO statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the UN organization said on Thursday.


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