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World Meteorological Organization Releases Provisional Statement on the Status of the Global Climate

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Authority on global climate released its 2011 provisional statement this week. One of the most striking statements contained in the release is that presently ” 2011’s nominal value ranks as the equal 10th highest on record, and the 13 warmest years have all occurred in the 15 years between 1997 and 2011.”

The statement notes the many significant weather events during 2011 and that:

“Arctic sea ice extent was again well below normal in 2011. After tracking at record or near-record low levels for the time of year through the first half of 2011, the seasonal minimum, reached on 9 September, was 4.33 million square kilometres (35% below the 1979-2000 average). This was the second-lowest seasonal minimum on record, 0.16 million square kilometres above the record low set in 2007. Unlike the 2007 season, both the Northwest and Northeast Passages were ice-free for periods during the 2011 summer. Sea ice volume was even further below average and was estimated at a new record low of 4200 cubic kilometres, surpassing the record of 4580 cubic kilometres set in 2010.”

-Steven Silverberg