CANCUN, MEXICO // Although the final ranking will not become clear until early next year, 2010 looks set to land among the three warmest years since climate record-keeping with instruments began in 1850, a report released at the UN Climate Change Convention concluded. The other two years are 1998 and 2005.
For the first 10 months of the year, surface-air temperatures around the world were 0.66°C higher than the 1961-1990 average of 14°C, according to a report by the World Meteorological Organisation released at the summit. From 2001 until the start of this year, temperatures averaged 0.46°C above the 1961-1990 average.
Surface air temperatures over land were above normal across most parts of the world, particularly in some parts of Canada and Greenland, where mean annual temperatures were 3°C higher than normal.
Higher surface air temperatures were also recorded in the northern half of Africa and south Asia, extending as far east as the western half of China.
"Many parts of both regions had their warmest year on record, including the Arabian Peninsula," the report said.
In addition to increased temperatures, the report said events such as floods, cyclones, droughts and heat waves are also likely to become more frequent.
This year, Pakistan experienced the worst flooding in its history as a result of heavy monsoon rains. Summer rainfall was also well above normal in western India, while China experienced its most significant monsoon flooding since 1998, according to the report.
In the northern hemisphere, several areas experienced exceptional heat waves in summer. Temperatures in portions of western Russia were more than 5°C higher than what is considered normal summer temperatures.
* Vesela Todorova