News / Science & Technology

    2001-2010 UN Report Shows Accelerated Warming

    U.S. Forest Service photo shows fire rising over the West Fork Complex in Colorado, June 20, 2013.
    U.S. Forest Service photo shows fire rising over the West Fork Complex in Colorado, June 20, 2013.
    Selah Hennessy
    The world experienced unprecedented climate extremes during the first decade of this century, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization. Global bodies are gearing up to help nations cope with changing climate conditions.

    The report, published Wednesday, analyzed global and regional temperatures and precipitation. It found that every year of the decade, except 2008, was among the 10 warmest since records began more than 150 years ago.

    The report also looked at extreme events, including heat waves in Europe and Russia, Hurricane Katrina in the United States of America, droughts in the Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa and floods in Pakistan.

    Omar Baddour from the World Meteorological Organization [WMO] said Wednesday’s report reveals the extent of dramatic climate extremes between the years 2001 and 2010.

    “There is some dramatic change in the state of the climate and it is being observed in the present years as well,” said Baddour.

    Baddour said some extreme weather events can be explained by natural variations - but rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases also are changing our climate.

    Bob Ward, from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said individual extreme weather events have the power to shock. But when you add it up in a decade-long overview, as Wednesday’s report has done, he said the impact is “astonishing."

    Ward said the global challenges created by weather extremes are made worse by a changing world. Urban centers, he said, are growing - and in many ways heightening the danger.

    “If you look around the world in Asia and parts of Africa, which are developing quickly, we are seeing large areas of population gathering in cities that are located on coastlines and they are particularly susceptible to extreme weather events,” said Ward.

    One example, he said is Shanghai. It's a highly populated city that is close to sea level, on the coast line and prone to tropical cyclones.

    Wednesday’s report says that deaths from extreme events totaled 370,000 over the 10-year period, up 20 percent from the 1990s.

    The rise was caused mainly by a 2003 heat wave in Europe and a 2010 heat wave in Russia.

    The report says deaths from storms and droughts fell, and that was in part, it says, because of better preparedness.

    Ward said that in the coming years, preparing ourselves for climate change will be increasingly important.

    “No matter how well we reduce emissions over the next three or four decades, we are committed to a degree of climate change in any case over that period and to help people adapt and make themselves as resilient as possible, they need information about how the climate might change,” he said.

    He said making sure climate information is communicated quickly can help prevent human disasters.

    According to the WMO, about 70 nations, including most of the least developed countries, have little or no climate services to disseminate information to the public.

    Wayne Elliot is working to kickstart projects in Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Chad that will help inform people about important climate and weather patterns.

    “There is a lot of uncertainty at the seasonal timescale. And what I mean by that is out two, three, four months ahead. So the science is quite difficult, it is quite challenged, there are lots of uncertainties at that time scale. But there is some skill in these parts of the world in those predictions, as well,” said Elliot.

    He said in Niger they are helping farmers look ahead to the season’s forecast.

    “There is a lot of information if tailored correctly for farmers that they can use to plan, for example, what types of seed, when they seed, when they water, when they need to think about harvesting crops, etcetera, around dry spells and around the rain falling that is arriving as well,” said Elliot.

    WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said the data published in Wednesday’s report refutes the belief among some in the scientific community that global warming is slowing down.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora