2013 sixth-hottest year

February 06, 2014 - 7:33:00 am
GENEVA: Last year tied for the sixth-hottest on record, confirming that Earth’s climate system is in the grip of warming that will affect generations to come, the UN’s weather agency said yesterday.

“This is confirmation of the trend of global warming of the planet,” World Meteorological Organization (WMO) chief Michel Jarraud said. Last year equalled 2007 as the sixth-warmest year since reliable records began in 1850, with a global land and ocean surface temperature that was 0.5 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, the WMO said in a statement.

Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century, Jarraud said. The hottest were 2005 and 2010, which both saw temperatures about 0.55 C above the long-term average. Jarraud acknowledged in a statement that “the rate of warming is not uniform” in every country.

Last year, for instance, was the hottest year on record in Australia, while the United States measured record highs in 2012. But, Jarraud said, “the underlying trend is undeniable”.

“Global warming... is occurring. There is absolutely zero doubt. But more important, it is due to human activities,” he told AFP, pointing to record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “Our action, or inaction, to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases will shape the state of our planet for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” he said.

El Nino weather patterns, which warm surface temperatures, and their cooling La Nina counterparts are major drivers of natural variability in the climate. But the WMO noted that neither condition occurred in 2013, which was warmer than both 2011 and 2012, which were cooled by La Nina. AFP