Decade set to be hottest on record
By Juliet Eilperin
As negotiators worked in Copenhagen Tuesday on fashioning a global climate deal, the U.N.'s weather agency announced here that the current decade is set to be the warmest on record.
Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of The World Meteorological Organization, said the period between 2000 and 2009, "is very likely to be the warmest on record, warmer than the 1990s, than the 1980s and so on."
Several prominent weather agencies echoed that same message Tuesday, saying there's no reason to believe global warming has stopped. The findings come at a time when climate skeptics have seized on pirated e-mails from the Center for Climatic Research in East Anglia, as reason to question the warming described by mainstream climate scientists.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, whose analysis helped form the basis for the WMO's projections, said that 2009 is expected to be the "fourth, fifth or sixth warmest" year since records were first kept in 1850.
If actual temperatures for November and December are in line with the agency's estimates the average global surface temperature will be about 0.96 degree Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century average. "This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.65 degree F," NOAA said.
The Met Office Hadley Centre, which jointly provides information to the U.N. weather agency along with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, released station temperature records Monday for more than 1,500 of the stations that make up the global land surface temperature record.
"These figures highlight that the world continues to see global temperature rise, most of which is due to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and clearly shows that the argument that global warming has stopped is flawed," the Met Office said in a statement.
But these calls for action did not go unanswered. Leighton Steward, a former oil executive who has sponsored a U.S. advertising campaign promoting the virtues of carbon dioxide, is holding the "Copenhagen Climate Challenge" Tuesday and Wednesday near the climate talks. The event will feature well-known climate skeptics from both sides of the Atlantic, including S. Fred Singer, President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, and Lord Christopher Monckton, chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute.
Juliet Eilperin| December 8, 2009; 12:21 PM ET Save & Share:
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