GENEVA (AP) - Global warming accelerated since the 1970s and broke more
countries’ temperature records than ever before in the first decade of the
new millennium, U.N. climate experts said Wednesday.
A new analysis from the World Meteorological Organization says average land
and ocean surface temperatures from 2001 to 2010 rose above the previous
decade, and were almost a half-degree Celsius above the 1961-1990 global
The decade ending in 2010 was an unprecedented era of climate extremes, the
agency said, evidenced by heat waves in Europe and Russia, droughts in the
Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa, and huge storms like Tropical
Cyclone Nargis and Hurricane Katrina.
Data from 139 nations show that droughts like those in Australia, East
Africa and the Amazon Basin affected the most people worldwide. But it was
the hugely destructive and deadly floods like those in Pakistan, Australia,
Africa, India and Eastern Europe that were the most frequent extreme weather
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud says the data doesn’t support the
notion among some in the scientific community of a slowdown, or lull, in the
pace of planetary warming in recent years.
“The last decade was the warmest, by a significant margin,” he said. “If
anything we should not talk about the plateau, we should talk about the
Jarraud says the data shows warming accelerated between 1971 and 2010, with
the past two decades increasing at rates never seen before amid rising
concentrations of industrial gases that trap heat in the atmosphere like a
By the end of 2010, the report shows, atmospheric concentrations of some of
the chief warming gases from fossil fuel burning and other human actions
were far higher than at the start of the industrial era in 1750. Carbon
dioxide concentrations in the air rose 39 percent since then; methane rose
158 percent; and nitrous oxide was up 20 percent.