GENEVA 3 July 2013 — The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the 2001–2010 decade, which was the warmest since the start of modern measurements in 1850 and continued an extended period of pronounced global warming. More national temperature records were reported broken than in any previous decade, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO News Release).
The report, The Global Climate 2001–2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, analysed global and regional temperatures and precipitation, as well as extreme events such as the heat waves in Europe and Russia, Hurricane Katrina in the United States of America, Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, droughts in the Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa and floods in Pakistan.
The decade was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both land and ocean surface temperatures. The record warmth was accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and accelerating loss of net mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and from the world’s glaciers. As a result of this widespread melting and the thermal expansion of sea water, global mean sea levels rose about 3 millimetres (mm) per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6 mm per year. Global sea level averaged over the decade was about 20 cm higher than that of 1880, according to the report.
The WMO report charted rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Global-average concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to 389 parts per million in 2010 (an increase of 39% since the start of the industrial era in 1750), methane to 1808.0parts per billion (158%) and nitrous oxide to 323.2 parts per billion (20%).
“A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel 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. 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.”
“Natural climate variability, caused in part by interactions between our atmosphere and oceans — as evidenced by El Niño and La Niña events — means that some years are cooler than others. On an annual basis, the global temperature curve is not a smooth one. On a long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction, more so in recent times” said Mr Jarraud.
Does the President’s climate speech last week signal a new role in international climate talks? [New York Times]
Local landowners along the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline are asking local governments to pass zoning regulations hindering pipeline development and resolutions formally opposing the project. [AP]
Arkansas residents sickened by March’s Exxon Pipeline spill have faced confusion from doctors who can’t identify the cause of their symptoms — and some are still sick today. [InsideClimate News]
A federal judge ruled that and SEC rule written for the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial disclosure law does not require oil and gas companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. [Wall Street Journal]
Tom Friedman ticks through the natural gas boom, methane leakage risks, and the plausible Republican idea of a national Clean Energy Standard in today’s op-ed. [New York Times]
Honda and General Motors are teaming up to develop a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell. [New York Times]
The Department of Energy will soon take applications for $8 billion in loan guarantees for projects and new technologies that make extracting and burning fossil fuels a less carbon-intensive process. [The Hill]
The United Church of Christ voted to divest from fossil fuel companies to address climate change. [Huffington Post]
Republicans have seized the opportunity to slam President Obama for declaring a “War on Coal” — but that strategy might not hurt Democrats as much as the GOP hopes. [National Journal]
A carbon tax would affect different generations differently, with unborn Americans paying nothing, and 18 and under Americans paying just $10 a year, according to a new report. [E&E; Publishing]
In London, 25 percent of vehicles on the road during rush hour are bikes. [Clean Technica]
Solar groups are turning to the Tea Party and other conservative activists to garner support. [Wall Street Journal]
Note: There will be no news roundups on July 4th or 5th.