UN Warns of Arctic Region's Ice Melt
By Frances Samson | May 3, 2013 9:15 PM EST
Climate change worries continue to compound as the UN Weather Agency releases report on the record pace erosion of ice cover at the Arctic Sea last year.
The year 2012 was considered to be the ninth hottest year to date.
According to the 2012 year-end report of the World Meteorological Organisation, the ice that covers the Arctic Sea within the melting season of August to September was recorded to be just 3.4 million square kilometres.
That is 18 percent less than the previously recorded lowest in 2007.
"It is a disturbing sign of climate change," WMO Secretary General Michael Jarraud was quoted to have said.
"The year 2012 saw many extremes as well, such as droughts and tropical cyclones. Natural climate variability has always resulted in such extremes, but the physical characteristics of extreme weather and climate events are being increasingly shaped by climate change.
"For example, because global sea levels are now about 20 centimeters higher than they were in 1880, storms such as Hurrican Sandy are bringing more coastal flooding than they would have otherwise," he added.
Hurricane Sandy claimed about 300 lives in the Carribean and caused major infrastructure damage in the area. Thereafter, it wrecked havoc in the United States upon gaining further strength, creating damage to lives and properties, amounting to billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, in Asia, the most destructive tropical cyclone of 2012, Typhoon Bopha, ravaged the Philippines twice, leaving the country with horrifying floods and landslides and caused more than a thousand deaths.
According to the WMO, the estimated temperature of land and ocean surface worldwide was estimated at 0.45 degree celcius, much higher than the 14.0 degree Celcius recorded average from 1961-1990.
That makes 2012 the ninth hottest year to date since records began in 1850. It also makes 2012 the 27th consecutive year that the temperature on global land and ocean surface were higher than the 1961-1990 average.
What is worrisome to Mr Jarraud is the fact that despite a cooling spell brought about by La Nina at the start of the year, such warm temperature was still felt in 2012.
"The continued upward trend in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and the consequent increased radiative forcing of the earth's atmosphere confirm that the warming will continue," he added.
In other parts of the world, the WMO noted that North America, southern Europe, western Russia, parts of northern Africa and southern South America experienced above average temperatures.
Across Alaska there was cooler than average weather conditions, including parts of northern and eastern Australia and central Asia.
The WMO also reported that precipitation varied with central United States, northern Mexico, north eastern Brazil, central Russia and south-central Australia experiencing drier than average temperature.
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