- GENEVA (Reuters) - This year
has been the second warmest on record and the trend toward higher mean
global temperatures looks set to continue, World Meteorological Organization
officials said Tuesday.
- Compared with the 1961-1990 average used as the basis
for comparison, officials said the global temperature in 2001 rose a fraction
of a degree Fahrenheit to 57.2 F.
- It is the 23rd year in succession that temperatures have
been above the 1961-1990 mean.
- The 2001 average temperature was second only to 1998
when temperatures rose under the impact of La Nina, the sister phenomenon
to El Nino, both of which are caused by abnormal warming of surface water
in the Pacific Ocean.
- ``The expectation is for a continued gradual warming
for the next years,'' Ken Davidson, director of the organization's World
Climate Program, told a news conference.
- ``If you look at the trend, you can see since the 1980s
we have consistently remained above normal, with the temperatures continuing
to increase slowly. So you would anticipate that this trend is most likely
to continue,'' he said.
- World Meteorological Organization officials said the
warming trend would be accompanied by further cases of extreme weather
conditions -- both flooding and drought as well as sharp temperature variations.
But it was not possible to predict where the weather events would occur.
- They noted the overall trend to higher mean temperatures
did not mean that some parts of the world would not experience extreme
cold, as happened last winter in Russia
- Officials said the rising mean temperature and the frequency
of extreme climatic conditions, such as the devastating drought currently
plaguing central Asia, were consistent with a pattern of global warming.
- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, a body of international scientists, has warned that rising emissions
of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide as a result of human activities
are at least partially responsible for the temperature trend.
- Leading industrialized countries, with the exception
of the United States, are committed under the Kyoto Treaty on climate change
to limiting emissions of greenhouse gases.