GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 8 (UPI) — The World Meteorological Organization says this decade is the warmest on record, surpassing the period spanning the 1990s.
The U.N. organization also says the year 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest on record since 1850, when instrumental climate record-keeping started.
“The current nominal ranking of 2009, which does not account for uncertainties in the annual averages, places it as the fifth-warmest year,” scientists said. “The decade of the 2000s (2000-2009) was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s, which in turn was warmer than the 1980s.”
Officials said this year’s above-normal temperatures were recorded in most parts of the world, with only the United States and Canada experiencing cooler than average conditions. Given the current figures, officials said large parts of southern Asia and central Africa are likely to have the warmest year on record.
Meteorologists said climate extremes — including floods, severe droughts, snowstorms, heat waves and cold waves — were recorded in many regions, with extreme warm conditions more frequent and intense in southern South America, Australia and southern Asia. The Arctic sea ice extent during the melt season ranked the third lowest, after the lowest and second-lowest records set in 2007 and 2008, in that order.
Final figures for 2009 are to be published in March.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International