The year 2013 is likely to be among the top 10 warmest years since global records began in 1850, with both land and ocean temperatures rising around the world, a preliminary assessment of global temperatures for the year, by the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, showed Wednesday.
In a statement on the status of the climate in 2013, the WMO said that temperatures for the first nine months of the year tied with the same period in 2003 as the seventh warmest period on record. According to the WMO’s assessment, concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which touched record highs in 2012 are further set to reach “unprecedented highs” in 2013, signaling a warmer future.
“Temperatures so far this year are about the same as the average during 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade on record,” Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General said, in a statement. “All of the warmest years have been since 1998 and this year once again continues the underlying, long-term trend. The coldest years now are warmer than the hottest years before 1998.”
Global land and ocean surface temperatures were at about 0.48 degrees celsius (or 0.86 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1961-1990 average in the first nine months, the report said, adding that the period under consideration had not witnessed La Niña or El Niño condition, which normally influences the climate with either a heating or cooling effect. El Niño conditions prevailed in both 2010 and 1998 -- the hottest years on record.
However, the U.S., which experienced record high temperatures in 2012 was comparatively cooler in 2013, while Australia recorded the highest temperature this year, according to the report.
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Australia, northern North America, northeastern South America, northern Africa, and much of Eurasia had above-average temperatures, while cooler-than-average temperatures were observed across a “concentrated region of North America, central South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Ecuador, a small region of northern Russia, and parts of northeastern Asia,” the report said.
In Asia, Japan recorded its hottest summer ever recorded, while China had its warmest August on record -- which tied with 2006.
Global Sea Levels Reaches New Highs, While Arctic Sea Ice Recovered In 2013
The preliminary assessment from the WMO confirmed that global sea levels touched a new record high in 2013, while Arctic sea ice increased slightly after a dramatic and unprecedented melt in 2012, the report said.
“Sea levels will continue to rise because of melting ice caps and glaciers. More than 90% of the extra heat we are generating from greenhouse gas is absorbed by the oceans, which will consequently continue to warm and expand for hundreds of years,” Jarraud said.
Arctic sea ice reached its annual maximum extent on March 15 at 15.13 million square kilometers, and reached its lowest sea ice extent in its annual cycle on Sept. 13 at 5.10 million square kilometers, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.