World Temperature Second
Highest On Record
By Vanessa E. Jones
Boston Globe Staff

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.

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