Global average temperatures continue to warm

WMO Press Conference on global mean temperatures in 2011

As the second day of negotiations gets underway at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) published its review of the climate of 2011 at a press conference this morning.

With observations collated from around the world, including the Met Office Hadley Centre, the Deputy Secretary General of WMO, Jerry Lengoase stated that 2011 so far, was the 10th warmest year on record and the warmest year in which there has been a La Niña. This data was compiled by taking an average of the three global temperature data sets from NASA and NOAA, both in the US and the Met Office and University of East Anglia in the UK. 

Mr Lengoase highlighted that we have observed on of the strongest La Niña events in the last 60 years. La Niña is a natural cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean that tends to have the effect of cooling global temperatures. Despite this cooling, this year is very likely to be warmer than previous years with a La Niña, as shown in the graph below.

Graph showing global temperatures with years in which there was a La Nina highlighted in blue
Graph showing global temperatures with years in which there was a La Niña highlighted in blue

The World Meteorological Organisation also announced that it will be publishing ten-year climate summaries in the spring of 2011. So far the data collected shows that no single country has reported average temperatures in the decade 2001-2010 to be cooler than long-term averages compared to the standard WMO climate reference period of 1961-2000. In addition 76 countries have reported that the 2001-2010 was in fact the warmest decade in their own national records. 

The Met Office and University of East Anglia published the Met Office/UEA HADCRUT3 global temperature data used in the WMO report today, confirming that in this dataset 2011 was currently ranked 11th with a value of 14.36 deg C. NASA GISS is currently ranked 9th with a value of 14.45 and NOAA NCDC is ranked 11th with a value of 14.41 deg C.


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