2013: Fast weather facts on an exceptional year
GENEVA, Switzerland – Here are weather facts about 2013, described by the UN's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) as a year of extreme heat and weather events:
- 2013 ranked with 2007 as the 6th warmest since modern records began in 1850. Earth's average surface temperature was 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average for 1961-1990.
- It adds to a string of above-average years for warming. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century. The hottest were 2010 and 2005. (READ: Warmer Earth, humans to blame – UN panel)
- Global average sea levels reached a new record high. The current rise of 3.2 millimeters (0.12 inches) per year is double the 20th-century trend of 1.6 mm (0.06 inches), increasing the vulnerability of low-lying coastal regions. (READ: 6 ways climate change will affect PH cities)
- Arctic sea ice shrank to its 6th-smallest summer area, although this was a slight recovery from the unprecedented melt of 2012.
- According to US scientists, 2013 was the 4th warmest on record since 1880.
- Places that experienced record annual heat were Australia, parts of central Asia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, sections of the Arctic Ocean, the southwestern and central Pacific Ocean and the central Indian Ocean.
- Extreme events included Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to make landfall and the deadliest storm to hit the Philippines; drought in Botswana, Namibia and Angola; and a heatwave that gripped southern China in July and August.
SOURCES: WMO interim report on 2013 temperatures, released February 5, 2014; WMO interim report on extreme weather and sea-level rise, released November 13, 2013; US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Global Summary Information for 2013, retrieved February 5 2014.
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