Earlier today (Wednesday, November 28, 2012), the World Meteorological Organization announced to representatives of 195 nations around the world at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (in Doha, Qatar), that it had finished measuring unprecedented high temperatures and record Arctic sea ice melt for the decade 2001-2011, plus the first ten months of this year. Here’s a summary of the report.
- 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 almost a degree F. (0.45° C.) above the corresponding 30-year (1961–1990) average.
- The six-month average of May–October 2012 was among the four warmest such periods on record. Scientists predict that 2012 will follow suit, in spite of the cooling influence of La Niña earlier in the year. The years 2001–2011 were all among “the warmest on record.”
- The extent of Arctic sea ice reached a record low. Its alarmingly fast rate of melt highlights far-reaching changes taking place on Earth’s oceans and biosphere.
“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. “Some 11.83 million square kilometers of Arctic ice melted between March and September 2012. 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.”
WMO will release the full 10-year report, “2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes,” on December 4, 2012. Other United Nations and international agencies collaborated in the investigation.
Looking ahead (reprinted from earlier article)
What started as a hopeful and genuine measure nearly two decades ago has slowly degenerated into an exercise of chauvinism and ethnocentricity. It is not a direction any nation can afford to continue.
The entire world has already used up 0.8 degrees of our Kyoto goal. Climate scientists are beginning to agree that the earth could warm by 4°C by the end of the century.
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