World temperatures reach boiling point

2009-12-10 09:25

THIS year will probably be the fifth warmest year since 1850 – the

year reliable records have been kept on weather patterns.

This is the indication from data presented by the World

Meteorological Organisation (WMO) at the Copenhagen climate change meeting being

held in Denmark.

Michael Jarraud, director-general of the WMO, says the past decade

was probably the hottest thus far.

Parts of Africa and South Asia have experienced their hottest year


Only North America has experienced cooler than average temperatures.

Jarraud says indications are that more extreme weather conditions

are occurring more frequently.

China experienced its worst drought in 50 years this year, while

Australia experienced its third hottest year since reliable data has been


An extreme El Niño system is developing, which could result in

extreme temperature increases next year, especially in Australia.

This weather system is also one of the reasons for summer droughts

in parts of Southern Africa and it occurs every two to seven years when water

around the equator in the Pacific Ocean is warmer than usual.

America, one of the world’s biggest polluters is one of the 20

countries most vulnerable to climate change, new research released at the

climate change meeting has shown.

America, the only G8 country that has not ratified the Kyoto

Protocol, is 18th on the climate risk index – which looks at the worst

weather-associated losses as a result of storms, floods, heatwaves etc – that

was developed for the period 1990 to 2008.

Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras are the top three on the list.

India is seventh, China 10th, Mozambique 19 and South Africa 66.

All the countries in the top 10 most vulnerable on the index are

developing countries.

In the long term large amounts of money will be needed to make

vulnerable communities “climate proof”.

Recent figures from reinsurance company Munich Re have indicated

that 600?000 people have been affected by about 11?000 extreme weather

conditions, resulting in $1.7?billion in losses.

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