[permaculture] 'Unprecedented' Climate Extremes in Last Decade: WMO | Weather Underground

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'Unprecedented' Climate Extremes in Last Decade: WMO | Weather Underground

'Unprecedented' Climate Extremes in Last Decade: WMO
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By: Terrell Johnson
Published: July 4, 2013

The world has warmed faster in the last decade than any other, as the
2001-2010 period brought "unprecedented" climate extremes and
high-impact weather events around the world, according to a new report
by the World Meteorological Organization released July 3.

The report, titled "The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate
Extremes," found that every year of the past decade except 2008 was
among the 10 warmest years on record, a period when deaths from heat
jumped by more than 2,000 percent over the previous decade.

More than 90 percent of the countries in the WMO survey reported their
warmest decade in 2001-2010, while sea level rise accelerated to a
worldwide average of about 3 millimeters per year, roughly double the
average annual rise of 1.6 millimeters in the 20th century.

Both hemispheres saw their warmest land and ocean temperatures, a
period that also saw the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice and the
accelerating retreat of mountain glaciers and the Greenland and
Antarctic ice sheets.

Noting that a decade is the "minimum possible timeframe for meaningful
assessments of climate change," WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud
said the report shows that global warming was "unprecedented" in the
periods between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010.

"Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing
our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and
our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat," Jarraud

"Natural climate variability, caused in part by interactions between
our atmosphere and oceans – as evidenced by El Niño and La Niña events
– means that some years are cooler than others" Jarraud said. "On an
annual basis, the global temperature curve is not a smooth one. On a
long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward
direction, more so in recent times."

The report focuses on:

Temperatures: Between 2001 and 2010, above-average temperatures were
observed in most parts of the world. About 44 percent of countries in
the WMO survey reported their hottest nationwide temperatures on
record; between 1991 and 2000, only 24 percent did.

The average global temperature rose by 0.17°C during the decade, more
than twice the average increase of 0.062°C per decade for the 130
years between 1880 and 2010.

Floods and precipitation: The year 2010 was the world's wettest since
modern weather measurements began, while the full decade was the
world's second-wettest since 1901. Most parts of the world experienced
above-normal precipitation, while droughts also occurred worldwide,
with notably severe droughts in Australia (2002), Africa (2004 and
2005), and South America's Amazon Basin.

Tropical cyclones (hurricanes and tropical storms): During the last
decade, nearly 170,000 people were killed in 511 tropical
cyclone-related weather events, a period that was the most active in
the North Atlantic Basin since 1855. An average of 15 named storms
formed each year between 2001 and 2010, compared to the long-term
average of 12 named storms per year.

Weather impacts: The loss of more than 370,000 people can be
attributed to extreme weather and climate events around the world
between 2001 and 2010, the report adds, including extreme heat and
cold spells, drought, severe storms and flooding events.

The number of deaths is 20 percent higher than the previous decade,
largely due to heat waves in Europe and Russia (in 2003 and 2010,
respectively), which spiked the number of heat-related deaths from
6,000 worldwide in 1991-2000 to about 136,000 in 2001-2010.

Read the full report here.
Temperature Rise, 2001-2010

Decadal global combined surface-air temperature over land and
sea-surface temperature (°C) obtained from the average over the three
independent datasets maintained by the HadCRU, NOAA-NCDC and
NASA-GISS. The Horizontal grey line indicates the long term average
value (14°C).

    SOURCE: World Meteorological Organization

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Furnace Creek, Calif.
Furnace Creek, Calif.

A visitor to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center walks by a thermometer
in Death Valley National Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Furnace Creek,
Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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