News / Science & Technology

2013 - Sixth Warmest Year on Record

FILE - World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud (r).
FILE - World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud (r).
Lisa Schlein
The World Meteorological Organization reports 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record, confirming the long-term global warming is continuing. In its annual report on the Status of the Climate, WMO describes a pattern of extreme weather events across the planet.  

The World Meteorological Organization finds 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st Century. And it says each of the last three decades has been warmer than the previous one, with 2001 to 2010 being the warmest decade on record.

WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud said it is important to look beyond individual years in order to assess the global warming trend. He said within this trend, there is significant variability in weather patterns. He added, though, 2013 definitely confirms a continuation of this trend.

“Since 2001, the first year of this Century, the coldest year that we have observed since 2001 is actually warmer than any year before 1998. I do not think this can be used in seeing a contradiction of the stop in climate change. Climate change is not stopping," said Jarraud.

Jarraud said the fact that parts of the United States and Canada were hit by very cold weather does not belie climate change because many other places in the planet were hit with significantly warmer weather than usual.

The WMO climate report highlights details of ice cover, ocean warming, sea level rise and greenhouse gas concentrations. It says all these events are inter-related and indicate that climate is changing.

It notes significant parts of the Asian continent saw more rain than usual last year.  And, it says the United Kingdom recorded the wettest winter in more than 250 years.  It says Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall, devastated parts of the Central Philippines.

The report says severe drought hit the Western part of the U.S. state of California, as well as the Sahel in Africa and the southern African countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Angola.  It says drought was linked to a record heat wave in Australia, which meteorologists confirm was due in large part to human activity.  

WMO’s Jarraud says phenomena such as heavier precipitation, more intense heat and more damage from storm surges and coastal flooding are consistent with what one would expect as a result of human-induced climate change.  

He says the state of the Arctic ice also is a concern.

“What is worrying is that an increasing fraction of this ice is recent new ice.  This ice is normkally very thin and therefore more vulnerable to the variability and the change in the climate.  So, this is the fact that the ice surface is a little bit more than the previous year is actually not in contradiction with the global warming.  Actually the volume continues to decrease.  So, we are very much concerned about the evolution of the Arctic ice," he said.

Jarraud says there is a strong possibility of an El Nino developing near the end of this year.  El Nino is a complex interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean.  If El Nino is confirmed, Jarraud says the world can expect a warmer year.

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