Past decade the warmest ever, says UN meteorological agency

13 December 2007 –

The past decade has been the warmest on record, with this year’s global mean surface temperature 0.41 degrees Celsius, or 0.74 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1961-1990 annual average, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced today.

This January marked the warmest January ever, with a global average temperature of 12.7 degrees Celsius, or 54.9 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to the January average between 1961 and 1990 of 12.1 degrees Celsius or 53.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The agency’s analysis is based on two different sources: the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre and the Climactic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, which both rank this year as the seventh warmest ever; and the United States Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which indicated that 2007 is on track to be the fifth warmest on record.

Record-low Arctic sea ice extent, which led to the first recorded opening of the Canadian Northwest Passage; the relatively small Antarctic ozone hole; and the rise of La Niña in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific are other major climate-related events which occurred this year.

In a related development, the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) wrapped up its three-day Global Forum on “Effective Use of Telecommunications/ICT for Disaster Management: Saving Lives.”

Sami Al Basheer Al Morshi, Director of the agency’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said, “We have seen through first-hand experience the power and potential of telecommunications to save lives in times of disaster.”

Representatives from 174 governments, 18 international organizations, 18 private sector groups and 53 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended the Geneva Forum.

The event also saw the launch of the ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies (IFCE), which seeks to make telecommunications resources available for government agencies which are responsible for disaster relief, humanitarian workers, as well as victims of disasters.

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