UPDATE 4-2010 ties for warmest year, emissions to blame -US

Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:16pm GMT
 

 * 2010 ties with 2005 as warmest since data kept from 1880
 * Record is evidence mankind contributes to warming
 * NASA report confirms 2010 tied record
 * Jet stream shift brought Russia heat, Pakistan floods
 (Adds NASA report) 
 By Timothy Gardner
 WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Last year tied for the
warmest since data started in 1880, capping a decade of record
high temperatures that shows mankind's greenhouse gas emissions
are heating the planet, two U.S. agencies said.
 Global surface temperatures in 2010 were 1.12 degrees
Fahrenheit (0.62 Celsius) above the 20th century average, tying
the record set in 2005, the National Climatic Data Center at
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on
Wednesday.
 "These results show that the climate is continuing to show
the influence of greenhouse gases. It's showing evidence of
warming," David Easterling, the chief of the scientific
services division at the NCDC, told reporters in a
teleconference.
 Many places, such as Russia and Pakistan, suffered from
heat waves and floods that killed thousands, scorched crops and
inundated countless farm acres. Those events, caused in part by
a shifted jet stream in the atmosphere, helped lead to record
global food prices and threaten to lead to food riots like
those seen in 2008.
 It's not possible to directly link global warming as the
cause of one weather event. But the trend of rising
temperatures since 2000 increases the possibility of extreme
weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods,
Easterling said. Every year since 2000 has ranked as one of the
15 warmest years on record, he said.
 Last year was also the wettest on record and a warmer
atmosphere holds more water, which in general can result in
more floods, he said.
 <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 Factbox on 2010 weather extremes:  [ID:nLDE70B0DY]
 Factbox on warmest years:          [ID:nLDE70B0PF]
 Graphic on extreme weather: r.reuters.com/xeq95r 
 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
 FUTURE
 The report did not predict weather in the future. But the
U.N. climate science panel says weather is likely to be more
extreme this century because of a build up of gases released by
burning fossil fuels and forest destruction.
 James Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for
Space Studies, said "if the warming trend continues, as is
expected, if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the 2010
record will not stand for long." His office also released a
report on Wednesday that said 2010 was tied for the warmest
year on record with 2005.
 Jay Gulledge, the senior scientist at the Pew Center on
Global Climate Change, said farmers and others can adjust to
expected warmer temperatures, but preparing for extreme weather
is harder. "We've got really immense potential right now to
have even bigger impacts from the direct effects of extreme
events," he said.
 As the weather warmed, the world did not do enough to
prevent future climate change, scientists said.
 At U.N. climate talks in Cancun late last year nearly 200
countries agreed to set a target of limiting a rise in average
world temperatures to below 2 degrees C (3.6 F) over
pre-industrial times.
 But promised emissions curbs by big polluters such as China
and the United States are not enough to achieve that goal and
tougher actions are needed, climate scientists said.
 NOAA's and NASA's reports were the first of four major ones
on global 2010 temperatures. The UK Met Office's Hadley Centre
and the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization are expected
to issue reports later this month.
 PARADOX
 Frigid winters in parts of Europe and the United States in
2010 may be a paradoxical side effect of climate change, some
scientists said. Rising temperatures mean a shrinking of sea
ice in the Arctic, heating the region and pushing cold air
southwards during the winter, according to a study last month
in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
 Warming of the air over the Barents and Kara seas, for
instance, seems to bring cold winter winds to Europe.
 "This is not what one would expect," said Vladimir
Petoukhov, lead author of the study and climate scientist at
Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
"Whoever thinks that the shrinking of some far away sea-ice
won't bother him could be wrong."
 The release of the NOAA report itself was delayed one day
by an unusually hard snowstorm in North Carolina.
 "These anomalies could triple the probability of cold
winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia," he said. "Recent
severe winters like last year's ... do not conflict with the
global warming picture, but rather supplement it."
 (Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo; graphic by
Emily Stephenson; editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa
Shumaker)


Market Update

  • Africa
  • US
  • Europe
  • Asia
UK £ USD =1.6088
Euro USD =1.2670
Rand USD =0.0915