WMO Releases Provisional Statement on Status of Climate 2013

WMO13 November 2013: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its provisional statement on the 'Status of the Global Climate 2013,' which confirms that 2013 is currently on track to be among the top ten warmest years on record, and that global sea level reached a new record high due, in part, to melting ice caps and glaciers.

In contrast with 2012, when the US, in particular, observed record high annual temperatures, the statement indicates that warmth in 2013 was most extreme in Australia. However, surface temperatures are only part of the wider picture of climate change, as its impact is already being felt on the planet's water cycle in the form of floods, extreme precipitation and droughts. The statement provides a snapshot of regional and national temperatures, and includes details on precipitation, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, ice cover and sea level.

As the statement was released, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said: temperatures so far this year are about the same as the average during 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade on record; and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases reached new highs in 2012, and are expected to reach unprecedented levels in 2013.

He also underscored that Typhoon Haiyan, which wreaked havoc in the Philippines, is the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to hit the country and one of the most intense ever recorded anywhere. He emphasized that, although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges, and adding that, although the relationship between climate change and the frequency of tropical cyclones is a matter of much research, their impact is expected to be more intense.

The provisional WMO statement was released to inform negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Warsaw, Poland. Final updates and figures for 2013 will be published in March 2014. [WMO Provisional Statement on Status of the Climate in 2013] [WMO Press Release] [UN News Centre Press Release] [WMO Website]