2001-10 warmest decade since 1850, says report

Geneva, July 3 (IANS) The 2001-10 decade was the warmest since the start of modern measurements in 1850, and the world saw unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the decade, says a report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Wednesday.

The report analyzed global and regional temperatures and precipitation as well as extreme events such as the heat waves in Europe and Russia, Hurricane Katrina in the US and Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, Xinhua reports.

It showed that the average land and ocean-surface temperature in 2001-10 was estimated to be 14.47 Celsius degrees, or 0.47 degree above the 1961-90 global average and 0.21 degree above the 1991-2000 global average.

Nearly 94 percent of reporting countries had their warmest decade in the first decade of the 21st century.

Some 44 percent of the 127 countries in the survey reported nationwide hottest temperature records in the decade, compared to 24 percent in 1991-2000, said the report.

It found that every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest years on record.

The warmest year ever recorded was 2010, with a temperature estimated at 0.54 degree above the 14.0 degree long-term average of 1961-90 base periods, followed closely by 2005.

The decadal rate of increase in the global temperature accelerated between 1971 and 2010.

The report said most parts of the globe had above-normal precipitation during the decade.

Eastern US, northern and eastern Canada and many parts of Europe and central Asia were particularly wet. The year 2010 was the wettest since the start of instrumental records.

According to the WMO survey, floods were the most frequently experienced extreme events over the decade; droughts affected more people than any other kind of natural disaster owing to their large scale and long-lasting nature; and there were 511 tropical cyclone related disaster events in the 10 years.

Over the decade, more than 370,000 people died as a result of extreme weather and climate conditions, including heat, cold, drought, storms and floods, 20 percent higher than 1991-2000.

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