Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This Is The Warmest Decade On Record
The year 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest on record since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization.
Data compiled by the UN agency finds that the global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2009 is currently estimated at 0.44°C ± 0.11°C (0.79°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. The current nominal ranking of 2009, which does not account for uncertainties in the annual averages, places it as the fifth-warmest year. The decade of the 2000s was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s, which in turn was warmer than the 1980s. The WMO says nore complete data for the remainder of the year 2009 will be analyzed at the beginning of 2010 to update the current assessment.
This year above-normal temperatures were recorded in most parts of the continents. Only North America experienced conditions that were cooler than average. Given the current figures, large parts of southern Asia and central Africa are likely to have the warmest year on record.
The WMO says that climate extremes, including devastating floods, severe droughts, snowstorms, heatwaves and cold waves, were recorded in many parts of the world. This year the extreme warm events were more frequent and intense in southern South America, Australia and southern Asia, in particular. La Niña conditions shifted into a warm-phase El Niño-Southern Oscillation in June. The Arctic sea ice extent during the melt season ranked the third lowest, after the lowest and second-lowest records set in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
This preliminary information for 2009 is based on climate data from networks of land-based weather and climate stations, ships and buoys as well as satellites. The data are continuously collected and disseminated by the national meteorological services of the 189 member states of WMO and several collaborating research institutions.