(BN) World May Post Hottest Year on Record in 2010, UN Agency Says


World May Post Hottest Year on Record in 2010, UN Agency Says
2010-12-02 17:00:00.4 GMT

By Alex Morales
Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Global average temperatures may post
a record this year, the World Meteorological Organization said,
a week after announcing that greenhouse gas concentrations in
the atmosphere also are at the highest since measurements began.
The worldwide average temperature in 2010 through part of
November was 0.55 degrees Celsius warmer than the long-term
average of 14 degrees (57 degrees Fahrenheit), the WMO Secretary
General Michel Jarraud said in Cancun, Mexico, where envoys from
194 nations are working on a treaty to stem global warming.
"The long term trend is a trend of very significant
warming," Jarraud said today. "We are very concerned. There is
a very significant warming. You cannot dispute the warming.
There is a significant possibility that 2010 will be the
warmest. Right now it's slightly ahead of 1998 and 2005. We're
very confident that it will be in the top three years."
The findings are aimed at putting pressure at UN delegates
to agree a pact on limiting emissions from burning fossil fuels,
which is blamed for damaging the atmosphere. Those discussions
dissolved last year without legally-binding treaty to replace
the limits under the Kyoto Protocol that expire in 2012.
Reducing output of heat-trapping gases is the key goal of
the United Nations talks in Cancun. The concentration of carbon
dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, the main man-made greenhouse
gases blamed for global warming, rose to a record last year, the
WMO said on Nov. 24.

Temperatures Rising

"If greenhouse gases continue to increase, then global
average temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius, compared
to pre-industrial temperatures, by the end of the century or
even as early as 2060," Vicky Pope, head of climate science at
Britain's Met Office, said in an e-mailed interview.
The atmospheric gases, stemming mainly from burning fossil
fuels, changes in land use and deforestation, continued a rising
trend that began with industrialization in the 18th century.
Next year is likely to be cooler because of a "very
strong" La Nina effect, the Met Office said today in an e-
mailed statement. That refers to a periodic pattern of cooler
surface waters in the Pacific Ocean. The latest began in the
second half of 2010. The British agency said 2011 is likely to
be about 0.44 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1961 through 1990
average, placing it among the 10 warmest years on record.


That compares with the 0.52-degree temperature "anomaly"
registered in 1998, the hottest year in the series compiled by
the Met Office since 1850. The Met Office provides one of the
three datasets used by the UN to guide climate talks.
The two other data sets are compiled by the U.S. National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. The NOAA and NASA series
both registered anomalies through October that, if continued
through November and December, would also show records for this
year. Both hit record years in 2005. The three series each are
calculated in a slightly different way.
While a single year of data "doesn't give a scientific
basis to arrive at any kind of inference," there's a stronger
trend to be drawn from a longer series of readings, Rajendra
Pachauri, the UN's chief climate scientist, said in an interview
in Cancun. Before this year, 11 of the previous 12 years
featured in the 12 warmest years in recorded history, he said.
"It's important for negotiators to follow the science and
use the negotiations on climate change to respond to the
science," Pachauri said.
The average temperature rose at about 0.16 degrees per
decade in the 1980s and 1990s. The rate through the 2000s has
been from 0.05 to 0.13 degrees, according to Pope.
"There is a strong signal of warming when we look at the
decade-on-decade changes in temperature," Pope 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 last week from the Met Office.

For Related News and Information:
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--Editors: Reed Landberg, Randall Hackley

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Morales in Cancun 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.