News / Science & Technology

2013 is Seventh Hottest Year, Rising Seas Worsen Typhoon

FILE - World Meteorological Organization (WMO) secretary-general Michel Jarraud (R) gestures during a press conference in Geneva, Nov. 28, 2012.
FILE - World Meteorological Organization (WMO) secretary-general Michel Jarraud (R) gestures during a press conference in Geneva, Nov. 28, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
A new United Nations report said 2013 is likely to be one of the 10 warmest years since modern records began in 1850. 

This report is being released to coincide with the U.N. climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland.  Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization make no secret they hope the report will influence governments attending the conference to take strong action to curb climate change.

The WMO report provides a snapshot of regional and national temperatures.  It goes into detail on precipitation, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, ice cover and sea level.  

WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud said the data indicates an evident warming trend. “This decade, the last decade was the warmest decade on record and what we call cold years now are actually warmer than any warm year before ’98,” he said. 

Jarraud notes atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases reached new highs in 2012.  He said they are expected to reach unprecedented levels again this year, which means the world will continue to get warmer.

The report said surface temperatures are only part of the climate change story.  It says the so-called water cycle of droughts, floods and extreme precipitation also is having a strong impact on this phenomenon.

WMO Chief Jarraud said higher sea levels are making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges, as the Philippines experienced from Typhoon Haiyan.

“Near the Philippines, the sea level rise over the last 20 years was probably of the order of three to four times bigger than it was globally. The factor of sea level rise itself can be attributed to a large extent to the climate change, which has occurred.  So, in other words, the cyclone itself it is a difficult question, but definitely because of the higher sea level the damage has been more than what it would have been 100 years before under similar wind conditions,” Jarraud stated. 

During the first nine months of 2013, the report finds most of the world’s land areas had above-average temperatures, most notably in Australia, which suffered from a very intense heat wave.  North America, northeastern South America, northern Africa, and much of Eurasia also recorded high temperatures.

The report said record-breaking precipitation occurred in many places in North America, while the southern African countries of Angola and Namibia were gripped by one of the worst droughts in the past 30 years.  But it said above-average rainfall fell over most of central and western parts of the Sahel. 

The WMO report notes Arctic Sea ice recovered slightly after the dramatic and unprecedented melt in 2012, but is still at one of the lowest levels on record.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More