SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The World Meteorological Organisation yesterday said the global average temperature for January to October was 0.57C above average, the same as in the record hot year 2010. The ocean temperature set a new record in the nine-month period, while land temperatures were the fourth- or fifth-highest since record-keeping began in the 19th century, it said in a report released at UN climate talks in Lima and at its headquarters in Geneva.
“The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century,” WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud said. “There is no standstill in global warming.” Climate sceptics point to a perceived hiatus in the temperature rise since 1998, an exceptionally hot year, to support their claims that man-made warming is not a big problem. Most climate scientists reject that idea.
Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University said the long-term warming trend was combined with natural variations that tended to be cyclic and that a period of lower than average warming would be followed by a period of rapid warming. “Whether such a period is about to begin we cannot say but the warm 2014 is a reminder that the warming never stopped and the long term trend is up, up, up,” Dr Oppenheimer said.
Parts of the planet were cooler than average, including large areas of the US, Canada and central Russia. But most of the world experienced above-average temperatures. There were heatwaves in South Africa, Australia and Argentina in January and in large parts of South America in October, according to the WMO assessment, which was based on two global data sets from the US and one from Europe.
Ocean temperatures were particularly high in the northern hemisphere from June to October. “Around 93 per cent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and other human activities ends up in the oceans. The heat content of the oceans is key to understanding the climate system,” the WMO said.
While scientists are now 95 per cent certain that the temperature rise since the middle of the 20th century is mostly man-made, they cannot say with the same confidence how the warming affects different parts of the climate system, including the frequency of tropical storms or hurricanes.
Figures for 2014 were not yet ready.