La Niña expected to continue through first quarter of 2011 but gradually weaken
A significant La Niña episode, which is affecting climate conditions in different regions of the world, continues in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Its strength is expected to decrease during the course of the coming four months, according to a new Update issued today by the World Meteorological Organization.
Almost all forecast models predict a continuation of the current La Niña for at least the next 2-4 months, through the first quarter of 2011 and possibly into the second quarter (April or early May).
“The strength of the event is likely to decrease during the course of the coming 4 months,” says the El Niño/La Niña Update.
2010 equals record for world’s warmest year
The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998. Data received by the WMO show no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998.
In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean. This value is 0.01°C (0.02°F) above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02°C (0.05°F) above 1998. The difference between the three years is less than the margin of uncertainty (± 0.09°C or ± 0.16°F) in comparing the data.
These statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres, 1.35 million square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December. This follows the third-lowest minimum ice extent recorded in September.
“The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.”
Global Atmosphere Watch Conference held
Greenhouse gases, ozone monitoring and recovery, and Aerosol-cloud interractions were among the topics under the spotlight at a two-day conference which examined research conducted by the Swiss national arm of WMO's Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) Programme, which monitors and assesses the influence of human activity on the global atmosphere.
This conference presented the main results of the GAW-CH projects carried out from 2007 to 2009. During this period, numerous scientists from several Swiss institutions were active in research and monitoring projects, covering topics such as stratospheric processes, cloud properties, radiative forcing, aerosols and trace gases. As well as reviewing the outcome of these GAW-CH projects, the conference looked ahead to the GAW-CH projects planned for 2010-2013.
For further details of the conference: click here
To listen to the webcast click here
Unprecedented floods hit Queensland, Australia
Unprecedented floods in Australia have affected more than 200 000 people, submerged or disrupted life across an area the size of France and Germany combined, according to the premier of Queensland state.
Floodwaters were fed by heavy rain over the Christmas period falling over areas already saturated by persistent above-average rainfall during the preceding months. The most severe impacts were in central Queensland and in the state’s southern inland regions, according to the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia, which said the La Niña event had contributed to Australia's third wettest year on record in 2010. http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/climate/change/20110105.shtm
The Bureau of Meteorology has declared further flood warnings for seven river systems in Queensland, with monsoon rains forecast for the state's tropical north and thunderstorms for the southeast.
The website page http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/warnings/index.shtmlautomatically refreshes every 2 minutes. A summary for Queensland with flood (by rivers) and other extreme weather warnings is available at: http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/warnings/
Flood forecasting and warning services are provided in cooperation with other government agencies coordinated through Flood Warning Consultative Committees and established cooperative working arrangements in each State/Territory. http://reg.bom.gov.au/australia/warnings/index.shtml