Global temperatures on the rise
29 November 2012, The Zimbabwean
Many regions have faced extremes of droughts, floods and heatwaves. The number of cyclones worldwide was around normal but some, such as Superstorm Sandy, which lashed the Caribbean and the United States, were especially devastating, the WMO said.
The report which looked at the global temperature between 2001 and 2011 says Africa was not spared as it experienced above average temperatures during theperiod with the most anomalous warmth across parts of northern Africa. In Tunisia, 2012 is among the top ten warmest years since 1950. For east Africa, maximum temperatures were above average in Kenya in January and February 2012 the report reveals.
The report says the period under review was all among the warmest on record, and the first ten months indicate that 2012 will most likely be no exception despite the cooling influence of La Nina early in the year,” the report adds.
The WMO is an agency of the United Nations and has a membership of 190 member states and territories.
WMO’s provisional annual statement on the state of the global climate also highlighted the unprecedented melt of the Arctic sea ice and multiple weather and climate extremes which affected many parts of the world.
The report was released on Wednesday this week to inform negotiators on the dangers the world is faced with.
January-October 2012 has been the ninth warmest such period since records began in 1850. The global land and ocean surface temperature for the period was about 0.45°C above the corresponding 1961–1990 average of 14.2°C, according to the statement.
The year began with a weak-to-moderate strength La Niña, which had developed in October 2011. The presence of a La Niña during the start of a year tends to have a cooling influence on global temperatures, and this year was no different. After the end of the La Niña in April 2012, the global land and ocean temperatures rose increasingly above the long-term average with each consecutive month. The six-month average of May–October 2012 was among the four warmest such periods on record.
“Naturally occurring climate variability due to phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña impact on temperatures and precipitation on a seasonal to annual scale. But they do not alter the underlying long-term trend of rising temperatures due to climate change as a result of human activities,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“The extent of Arctic sea ice reached a new record low. The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth’s oceans and biosphere. Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records,” added Jarraud.
WMO will release a 10-year report on the state of the climate, “2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes” on 4 December 2012. It was produced in partnership with other United Nations and international agencies and highlights the warming trend for the entire planet, its continents and oceans during the past decade, with an indication of its impacts on health, food security and socio-economic development.
Many parts of western Africa and the Sahel, including Niger and Chad, suffered serious flooding between July and September because of a very active monsoon. Heavy rainfall from the end of July through early October prompted exceptional floods across Nigeria.