WMO: 2008 Among the Ten Warmest Years

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 16 December 2008: The year 2008 is likely to rank as the tenth warmest year on record, since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The global combined sea- and land-surface air temperature for 2008

is currently estimated at 0.31°C/0.56°F above the 1961-1990 annual

average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. The global average temperature in 2008 was

slightly lower than that for the previous years of the 21st century,

due in particular to the moderate to strong La Niña that developed in

the latter half of 2007.

The Arctic Sea ice extent dropped to its

second-lowest level during the melt season since satellite measurements

began in 1979. Climate extremes, including devastating floods, severe

and persistent droughts, snow storms, heat waves and cold waves, were

recorded in many parts of the world.

The WMO press release also

contains information for 2008 on regional temperature anomalies,

droughts, flooding and storms, La Niña, tropical cyclones, Antarctic

ozone hole and Arctic sea ice extent. This preliminary information for

2008 is based on climate data from networks of land-based weather

stations, ships and buoys, as well as satellites. The data are

continuously collected and disseminated by the National Meteorological

and Hydrological Services of WMO's 188 members and several

collaborating research institutions. Final updates and figures for 2008

will be published in March 2009 in the annual WMO Statement on the

Status of the Global Climate. [WMO Press Release]