2013 on course to be among the top 10 warmest years since 1850

  • Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times, Warsaw
  • |
  • Updated: Nov 13, 2013 22:04 IST
  • Cyclone Phailin

    A man salvages a table stuck under uprooted trees, that fell during Cyclone Phailin, on a road in Berhampur. (AP Photo)

  • Cyclone Phailin

    Locals remove a traffic signal pole fallen during Cyclone Phailin from a road in Berhampur. (AP Photo)

  • Cyclone Phailin

    A woman carries away a branch of an uprooted tree post Cyclone Phailin, as municipal workers clear a highway in Berhampur. (AP Photo)

  • Cyclone Phailin

    Electric wires entangled around the statue of Subhash Chandra Bose at road crossing post Cyclone Phailin in Berhampur. (AP Photo)

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    An elderly carries fruit on her head as she waits with her family to return her village. (AFP Photo)

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    A truck driver speaks on his phone after his truck carrying Toyota cars was overturned by strong winds Andhra Pradesh-Odisha National Highway. (AFP Photo)

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    A displaced family waits in Sonupur village, 15 kms from Gopalpur. (AFP Photo)

  • Cyclone Phailin

    A motorcyclist rides past fallen traffic signal poles, post Cyclone Phailin in Berhampur. (PTI Photo)

Year 2013 is on course to be among the top 10 warmest years since modern meteorological data recordings began in 1850, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Wednesday.

The annual statement also confirmed that global sea level reached a new record high. The most vulnerable areas included those around Philippines. India, with a large coastline – especially with a cyclone-prone eastern coast, too has a cause of worry.

January-September 2013 period was warmer than the same period in both 2011 and 2012, when La Nina had a cooling influence.

The first nine months of 2013 are in tie with year 2003 for the seventh position on the list of warmest years with global land and ocean surface temperature of about 0.48 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, the WMO’s provisional annual statement on the ‘Status of the Global climate 2013’ released on the sidelines of Conference of Parties (COP19) said.

The statement – which provides snapshots of regional and national temperatures includes details on regional/global precipitations, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, ice-cover and most important sea-level – is aimed at drawing attention of the negotiators at the ongoing United Nations climate change conference. 

“Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases reached new highs in 2012 and we can expect them to reach unprecedented levels yet again in 2013. It clearly means, we are committed to a warmer future,” warned Jerry Lengoasa, deputy secretary-general, WMO.

Sea-levels

The annual statement confirmed that global sea level reached a new record high. “Sea levels will continue to rise because of melting ice caps and glaciers. More than 90% of the extra heat we are generating from green-house gases is absorbed by the oceans, which in turn, warm and expand,” Lengoasa said.

The annual sea level rise graph for period between 1993 and 2010 showed that the highest 15 mm/year rise in sea level was in west of Pacific around Philippines.

The findings become important in wake of the Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to hit that country, as Philippines is still reeling under the devastation wrecked by it. India too had cyclone Phailin in October leading to widespread devastation.

But Lengoasa warned: “Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges. It is expected that their impact will be more intense.”  

It also said larger areas in south-west Asia, including India, Pakistan and also western China experienced above-average rainfall due to active southwest Asian monsoon, which was one of the longest on record. Observations about the ‘Tropical Cyclones’ mentioned that the North Indian Ocean had a below-average season with only two tropical cyclones compared with the 1981-2010 average of four.

Observations about the ‘Tropical Cyclones’ mentioned that the North Indian Ocean had a below-average season with only two tropical cyclones compared with the 1981-2010 average of four.

In the ‘regional temperatures’ section, the statement said, during the first nine months of 2013, most of the world’s land areas had above-average temperatures.

In Asia, Japan had its hottest summer on record. In the ‘Sea Ice’ sections, it said, the Arctic sea recovered slightly after the dramatic and unprecedented melt in 2012 but 2013 still saw one of the lowest levels on record. The September Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing at an average rate of 1.1% per decade.

 

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