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People Get Ready: 'Unprecedented' Weather Glimpses Century Ahead

Latest report from WMO says first decade of century was hottest, wettest on record with more to come

Jon Queally

The rate of rising oceans has doubled, the heat temperatures for both land and water are on the rise, the melting of the Arctic ice is speeding up, and both the weather extremes the world is experiencing and the overall global warming trends are simply 'unprecedented.'

That's the assessment contained in the World Meteorological Organization's latest report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, which examined the first decade of the 21st century. The report, released Wednesday, arrived with this warning: we better get ready for more.

"Carbon-dioxide concentration [...] reached an average global value of 389 parts per million by the end of the decade, the highest value recorded for at least the past 10,000 years."

"Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

The decade between 2001 and 2010, according to the report, was both the hottest and the wettest since modern records were started in 1850.

According to the report, "Carbon-dioxide concentration [...] reached an average global value of 389 parts per million by the end of the decade, the highest value recorded for at least the past 10,000 years."

The group, which takes a global look at weather events and their relationship to macro trends in atmospheric and ocean patterns, says looking at a complete decade of data is the best way to make accurate analysis of a climate system as complex as the Earth's.

“A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change,” said Jarraud. “WMO’s report shows that global warming was significant from 1971 to 2010 and that the decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented."

On an annual basis, he continued, regional and global trends may go up and down, but on a "long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction."

The WHO also released this video summary of their report:

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