Last decade 'the warmest on record'

A A A

The past 10 years have been the warmest decade on record and this year has been one of the five hottest, scientists revealed today as negotiators attempt to make progress on a new international deal to combat climate change.

While 1998 remains the hottest single year since records began, the past decade has been the warmest period in the 160-year record of global surface temperatures, the Met Office announced.



And 2009 is another of the warmest years, according to the UN's weather experts the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) which published provisional findings that this year was 0.44C above the long term average of 14C.



It is expected to become the fifth warmest year since instrumental records began in 1850, the Met Office said, and will be warmer than 2008 because of the emergence of El Nino weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean which contribute to warmer temperatures.



The data from the WMO shows that for large parts of southern Asia and central Africa, it will have been the warmest year on record,



But north America experienced conditions that were cooler than normal - although Canadian cities Vancouver and Victoria saw new record temperatures set and Alaska had the second-warmest July on record.



Extreme climatic events including devastating floods, severe droughts, snowstorms and heat waves were recorded in many parts of the world.



The climate change experts said the results for the decade as a whole highlighted that the world continues to see a trend of global temperature rises, most of which is due to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases.



The global temperature analysis is based on three data sets: one held by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, one maintained by Nasa's Goddard Institute and one by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).



Dr Peter Stott, climate scientist at the Met Office, said: "If you average the temperatures up over the whole decade it shows very clearly that this most recent decade is the warmest in the instrumental record."



He said the data showed, even once uncertainties were taken into account, that the 2000s were significantly warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer in turn than the decade before.



The data shows the argument that global warming has stopped is "flawed", researchers said.



Professor Andy Pitman, joint director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said that low solar activity and the presence of a sustained La Nina weather pattern which contributes cooler temperatures should have meant that 2009 was a cool year.



"The fact it ranked in the top five since 1850 is actually frightening," he said.



Professor Tim Flannery, Professor of Environmental and Life Sciences at Macquarie University, in Sydney, and Chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council said: "A central plank of the climate sceptics' creed has been that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.



"They have misled many, and damaged public policy as a result. Here is the definitive proof that they are wrong.



"Unfortunately the warming trend continues, and will continue as long as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to grow."





Responding to the figures released at the UN talks in Copenhagen today, Greenpeace climate campaigner Joss Garman said: "This is an unmistakable climate signal that shows how humans are warming the Earth.

"The core of the sceptics' case was that we've been experiencing global cooling, but that claim was never justified by the science."



He added: "This won't stop some people pushing the conspiracy theory that climate change isn't happening, but here in Copenhagen the new data is being discussed by governments and is sure to focus minds."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence