- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
“The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1987, nine since 1990,” WMO states. “While the trend toward warmer globally averaged surface temperatures has been uneven over the course of the last century, the trend for the period since 1976 is roughly three times that for the past 100 years as a whole. The rise in global average surface temperatures since 1900 now exceeds 0.6¿ C. El Niño conditions returned to the tropical Pacific over the course of 2002.”
The potential for transitioning from more neutral to El Niño conditions became evident by the end of 2001. By mid-2002, characteristic El Niño sea surface temperature and then sea level pressure patterns were well established. In the latter half of 2002, climate anomalies in many regions were broadly consistent with a maturing El Niño episode of moderate intensity.
“Warm (positive) sea surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific and indeed across much of the land and sea surface of the globe in general contributed to the near record temperature ranking for the year,” WMO states. After a mild 2001-2002 winter in many areas, especially in the Great Lakes region, Canada recorded its fifth coldest spring overall, and in parts of western Canada, spring was the coldest on record.
Drought parched many regions around the world, the WMO documented. In the United States, drought conditions worsened in the West, but some improvement was seen in the East. Persistent dry conditions in the western United States contributed to the second-worst wildfire season in history. On a positive note, in Afghanistan, spring rains brought some relief after a four-year drought.
WMO’s global temperature analyses are based on data maintained by the Hadley Centre of the Met Office, UK, and the Climatic Research Unit, East Anglia University, UK.
For the full report, see www.wmo.ch.