2010 was warmest year on record
"The 2010 data confirm the Earth`s significant long-term warming trend," WMO`s secretary-general Michel Jarraud told reporters yesterday.
"Last year was an exceptionally warm year over much of Africa and southern and western Asia, and in Greenland and Arctic Canada, with many parts of these regions having their hottest years on record," he said.
Global average temperature last year was 0.53 degrees Celsius above the average level during 1961-90 and it is higher than the two previous warmest years — 1998 and 2005 — in the last decade.
More disturbingly, the Arctic sea-ice cover, which is a protective layer against global warming, was the lowest on record last month, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres or 1.35 square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December.
Further, global temperatures during the last 10 years, 2001-2010, have averaged 0.46 deg C above the 1961-1990 average.
Incidentally, they are the highest ever recorded since the beginning of instrumental climate records in early 19th century.
The heat wave and forest fires in Russia during summer last year and the devastating monsoonal floods in Pakistan and the recent floods in Australia, Brazil, and Sri Lanka point towards an uncertain period of weather-related disturbances, the IMO cautioned.
For countries in South Asia, including India, the weather patterns and unusual La El Nino/La Nina oceanic conditions could pose a major threat to monsoons, an IMO official said.
Already, the floods in Pakistan last year and the early January floods in Sri Lanka are a grim reminder that monsoon could turn out to be irregular and also wreak havoc in extreme cases, the official said.
The South Asian countries also face the risk of receding Himalayan glacier as it is happening with other glaciers in the world.
The so-called biblical floods in Australia in December and the first half of January are associated with the continuing strong La Nina event while the flash floods in Brazil which caused untold human misery are due to unusual weather patterns.