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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid