Sure, the East Coast has been hit especially hard with snowstorms this winter. But be prepared. The weather forecast calls for a hot 2011. In fact, last year tied for the hottest year on record, the result of a long-term warming trend which will continue, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Whether you chalk it up to global warming or merely write it off as “natural fluctuations” in climate, you cannot deny that the first 10 years of this century were the hottest decade since we started keeping records in the 19th century.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud commented at a news conference that the organization believes greenhouse gas emissions are to blame:
“The main signal is that the warming trend continues and is being strengthened year after year.”
“The trend, unfortunately, will continue for a number of years but the amplitude will depend on the amount of greenhouse gases released. It will depend on action taken to minimize the release of greenhouse gases.”
The WMO stated that this new evidence and the projections for a hot 2011 should convince nay-sayers about the reality of climate change.
But will it really?
Its important to keep in mind that overall rising temperatures worldwide impact weather patterns globally. That means snowstorms could be more severe and floods more devastating. As we’ve seen recently.
Perhaps more alarming is the fact that temperatures are about 0.8 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times and, if we reach the threshold of a 2 degree rise, dangerous climate change impacts of heatwaves and droughts could wreak havoc.
WMO noted that:
Over the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.45 degrees Celsius (0.83 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1961-1990 average and are the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since climate records began.
The WMO gathers climate data from land-based weather and climate stations, ships, buoys and satellites. It notes that actions to address global warming have been negatively impacted by the economic financial crisis.
Hopefully, new data like the hot weather forecast for 2011 will start to galvanize efforts to cut CO2 emissions and slow the rising temperatures.