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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid