(BN) World May Post Warmest Year as U.K. Met Office Adjusts Data


World May Post Warmest Year as U.K. Met Office Adjusts Data
2010-11-26 00:01:00.8 GMT

By Alex Morales
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- World temperatures in 2010 may be
the warmest on record, the U.K. Met Office said, as it plans to
calibrate a decade of data to account for newer sensors.
The average temperature for the year through October shows
2010 will be one of the two warmest years in a series that goes
back to 1850, said Vicky Pope, head of climate science at the
Met Office. Scientists at the agency are preparing to revise
data since 2000 to adjust for a new method that masked some of
the rising temperature trend, she said.
Nine climate indicators, from temperatures in the lower
atmosphere and humidity to rising sea levels, declining sea ice
and shrinking glaciers all point toward a warming climate,
according to a report today from the agency, which compiles one
of the three main time series of global temperatures.
"There's a very clear warming trend but it's not as rapid
as it was before," Pope told reporters yesterday in London.
Where the average temperature rose at about 0.16 degrees per
decade since the 1970s, the rate through the 2000s has been from
0.05 to 0.13 degrees, she said.
The decadal rate for the 2000s may be 0.03 degrees higher
once adjustments have been made to compensate for an increase in
the use of buoys to take sea temperature measurements, Pope
said. The buoys measure sea temperatures as being slightly lower
than ships, which were used more in the past, according to
Matthew Palmer, an ocean scientist at the Met Office.

U.S. Data

"We've effectively underestimated the rate of warming over
the past decade," Palmer said. A new series will be published
at an as yet unspecified date, according to the Met Office.
The global average temperature for the year through the end
of October was 0.52 degrees Celsius (0.94 degrees Fahrenheit)
warmer than the 1961 through 1990 average of 14 degrees, the
same as 1998, the hottest year in the Met Office series.
"It's currently the second-warmest year on record," Pope
said, noting that 1998 had a "strong" El Nino phenomenon, a
cyclical warming of the Pacific Ocean that typically raises the
global average temperature. This year began with an El Nino and
has switched to the reverse phase, called La Nina, she said.
While the Met Office didn't provide a figure, the 0.03-
degree revision in the decadal rate would add a tenth of that,
0.003 degrees, to this year's data relative to 1998, which
predates the period being revised.
The Met Office compiles the data along with the University
of East Anglia in eastern England, which last year had thousands
of e-mails stolen from its servers and posted on the Internet,
causing skeptics to charge that the data were manipulated. Three
investigations have since cleared the school.
The World Meteorological Organization is due to announce a
first estimate of 2010 temperatures on Dec. 2 during two weeks
of United Nations climate changes talks in Cancun, Mexico.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration publish
two other widely used global average temperature series. They
have 2005 as the warmest year due to differences in the way they
account for temperatures in parts of the world where there are
no monitoring stations.

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--Editors: Randall Hackley, Todd White

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Morales in London at +44-20-7330-7718 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at +44-20-7330-7862 or landberg@bloomberg.net.