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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid