2010 was warmest year on record, S Asia face extreme weather

D Ravikanth

Geneva, Jan 21 (PTI) India and other South Asiancountries face rising temperatures and extreme weatherpatterns as the world recorded the warmest year in 2010, theWorld Meteorological Organisation has said.

"The 2010 data confirm the Earth''s significantlong-term warming trend," WMO''s secretary-general MichelJarraud told reporters yesterday.

"Last year was an exceptionally warm year over much ofAfrica and southern and western Asia, and in Greenland andArctic Canada, with many parts of these regions having theirhottest years on record," he said.

Global average temperature last year was 0.53 degreesCelsius above the average level during 1961-90 and it ishigher than the two previous warmest years -- 1998 and 2005 --in the last decade.

More disturbingly, the Arctic sea-ice cover, which isa protective layer against global warming, was the lowest onrecord last month, with an average monthly extent of 12million square kilometres or 1.35 square kilometres below the1979-2000 average for December.

Further, global temperatures during the last 10 years,2001-2010, have averaged 0.46 deg C above the 1961-1990average.

Incidentally, they are the highest ever recorded sincethe beginning of instrumental climate records in early 19thcentury.

The heat wave and forest fires in Russia during summerlast year and the devastating monsoonal floods in Pakistan andthe recent floods in Australia, Brazil, and Sri Lanka pointtowards an uncertain period of weather-related disturbances,the IMO cautioned.

For countries in South Asia, including India, theweather patterns and unusual La El Nino/La Nina oceanicconditions could pose a major threat to monsoons, an IMOofficial said.

Already, the floods in Pakistan last year and theearly January floods in Sri Lanka are a grim reminder thatmonsoon could turn out to be irregular and also wreak havoc inextreme cases, the official said.

The South Asian countries also face the risk ofreceding Himalayan glacier as it is happening with otherglaciers in the world.

The so-called biblical floods in Australia in Decemberand the first half of January are associated with thecontinuing strong La Nina event while the flash floods inBrazil which caused untold human misery are due to unusualweather patterns.

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