Global temperatures from November 2010 are similar to those observed in November 2005

The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top three warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that were released here on Thursday.

A WMO statement said the global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2010 (January–October) is now estimated at 0.55 degrees Celsius plus or minus 0.11 degrees Celsius above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14 degrees Celsius. At present, 2010's nominal value is the highest on record, just ahead of 1998 and 2005.

The data also indicates that the January-October 2010 temperatures are near record levels. The final ranking of 2010 will not become clear until November and December data are analysed in early 2011. Preliminary operational data from November 1 to 25 indicate that global temperatures from November 2010 are similar to those observed in November 2005, indicating that global temperatures for 2010 are continuing to track near record levels.

Above normal

From 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, 0.03 degrees Celsius above the 2000-09 average and the highest value ever recorded for a 10-year period. Recent warming has been especially strong in Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of the Arctic, the Saharan/Arabian, East African, Central Asian and Greenland/Arctic. Canada sub-regions have all had 2001-10 temperatures 1.2 to 1.4 degrees Celsius above the long-term average, and 0.7 degrees Celsius to 0.9 degrees Celsius warmer than any previous decade. Surface air temperatures over land were above normal across most parts of the world.

Pakistan experienced its worst flooding owing to exceptionally heavy monsoon rain. The event principally responsible for the floods occurred from July 26 to 29, when four-day rainfall totals exceeded 300 mm over a large area of northern Pakistan. There were additional heavy rains further south, from August 2 to 8, which reinforced the flooding.

More than 1500 lives were lost and over 20 million people displaced as large parts of Pakistan's agricultural land were inundated. In terms of the number of people affected, the United Nations rated the floods as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history. The total monsoon season rainfall for Pakistan was the fourth-highest on record and the highest since 1994.

Summer rainfall was above normal in western India and China experienced its most significant monsoon flooding since 1998, with south-eastern China and parts of the northeast most severely affected. The latter floods extended to the Korean Peninsula too. These floods, directly as well as through landslips in China, claimed more than 1400 lives in Gansu Province in China.

However, monsoon season rainfall averaged over India was only 2 per cent above normal, and it was well below normal in north-eastern India and Bangladesh, which had its driest monsoon season since 1994.

Only limited land areas had below-normal temperatures in 2010, the most notable being parts of western and central Siberia in Russia, parts of southern South America, interior Australia, parts of northern and western Europe, eastern China and the southeast United States. It was the coldest year since 1996 for the northern European region, and since 1998 for northern Asia, mainly due to below-normal temperatures during winter.

A number of northern European countries are also likely to have their coldest year since 1996, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Norway.


On the frontline of climate change November 29, 2010