2013 Set to Be One of the Hottest Years Ever

Written by Kiley Kroh

This year is on track to be one of the hottest since record keeping began, according to a report released Wednesday by the World Meteorological Association (WMO). The report also found that global sea levels reached a record high in March 2013 and extreme weather events continued to devastate communities around the world.

Rising sea levels are already wreaking havoc on coastal communities, making them a target for increased storm surges and coastal flooding. The most recent example of this trend is the tragic toll of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, possibly the most powerful storm ever recorded.

“Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges. We saw this with tragic consequences in the Philippines,” Michel Jarraud, head of the WMO, told Agence France-Presse.

Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Jeff Masters with Weather Underground echoed that sentiment in an interview with PBS on Wednesday. While the lack of records for typhoons make it difficult to detect patterns in previous storms, future predictions for climate change are clear: “As you warm up the oceans, you will tend to make the strongest storms stronger,” Masters said.

Trenberth noted that in the Philippines, sea levels have risen by nearly four times the global rate and “sea temperatures are higher by over a degree Fahrenheit or so on a global basis because of global warming, because of human influences.” These factors combine with warmer, moister air to fuel major storms like Haiyan. “The environment that all of these storms are occurring in is simply different than it used to be because of human activities,” Trenberth said.

The WMO report found that the first nine months of 2013 tied with 2003 as the seventh warmest such period since modern data collection began in 1850. Other extremes this year have included record heatwaves in Australia, floods from Sudan to Europe, and Japan’s warmest summer on record, the WMO said.

The report, released to coincide with the start of the international climate negotiations in Warsaw, follows another alarming report from the agency last week. WMO said that in 2012, concentrations of greenhouse gases hit a record high of 393.1 parts per million, a rise of 2.2 parts per million over the previous year. The global average atmospheric concentration of CO2 — the most important long-lived greenhouse gas — has increased by 41 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1750.

The agency said it anticipates greenhouse gases will reach an unprecedented level in 2013 yet again and as humans continue to pump increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the risk of severe climate-driven impacts will only become more acute. “The risk is getting much, much higher, and vulnerability is getting higher,” said Jarraud.

Along with a greater frequency of destructive weather events, experts predict a host of other impacts that will accompany climate change, including water shortages, decreased food supplies, and disease — impacts that will hit the most vulnerable populations hardest. “Unfortunately, the people who are least to blame for emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are the ones that are suffering the worst. It’s the people in Africa, in the Philippines,” Trenberth said. “The poorer countries are really feeling the impacts of these sorts of extreme events we have seen lately.”

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 years ago

"Lifeless carbon dioxide atmosphere?". The plant life at the time would have thrived in such an environment. Not to mention the warmer, wetter climate. Only us oxygen-bresthing animal life forms would have found living challenging.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 years ago

When that capacity changes it is over periods of millions of years, and the ecoystems then can adjust, but NOT when an industrialized frenzy of seven billion humans pump an excess amount of 20 billion tons of CO2 per year (CO2 which accumulates and lingers in the upper atmosphere for an average of 100 years) at the same time cutting down the very forests that would absorb even some of that shock impact, in a very short time span of only 200 years. Pumping CO2 releases more CO2 previously locked up for eons (and methane, an even worse greenhouse gas) in an accelerating unstoppable effect. Physical science has no sympathy for idiotic political views of the human destroyers. If it won't kill you it will at a certainty kill your children and eventually at worst it will exterminate all life on earth. Anyone who ignores or supports this massive crime has no right breathing the earth's oxygen or joining the club of earth's life.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 years ago

self impressed unevolved humans denying to themselves or worse supporting in some way the destruction the future of this unique living green ball in space with nothing else like it in trillions of miles of hard vacuum are also denying to themselves the enormity of the crime they are committing. Genocide pales in comparison to this crime which the overpopulated hordes of humanity are committing against the earth which has not experienced this kind of catastrophe since two billion years ago when life started producing oxygen from the lifeless carbon dioxide soaked atmosphere at that time. These are the same people who would leave their car running in a closed garage and kill their family since they can't smell the deadly carbon monoxide. 20 billion tons of excess CO2 per...year pumped into the atmosphere from humanity's psychotic greed over dirty fuels does not magicallly disappear. That excess lingers in the upper atmosphere and physically acts as a greenhouse gas. The ecosystem has spent 2 billion years of evolution dealing with the CO2 which makes planets like Mars and Venus lifeless deserts by either recycling it, or sequestering it in the oceans, ice sheets and land. Earth's life is an evolved SYSTEM which at this time has the maximum capacity of recycyling 20 billion tons of CO2 per year, When that capacity changes it is over periods of millions of years, and the ecoystems then can adjust, but NOT when an industrialized frenzy of seven billion humans pump an excess amount

Grace Adams
Grace Adams4 years ago

I hope our government can figure out how to make the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy sufficiently profitable for our too big to fail fossil fuel firms for them to be willing and able to accept the offer,.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this

Nimue P.

I'm not surprised, we are having unseasonably hot weather here in Melbourne (Australia) for this time of year - it's supposed to be still Spring. The weather is up and down all the time, I got sunburned last week then it rained for 72 hours straight and was cold. Bizarre to say the least.

Ruhee B.
Ruhee B4 years ago

Sadly it will always be the "not guilty" who suffer - eg, the animals and the wildlife, the worlds poor, the future generations ...... By the time the next generation "wake up" it will be too late.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

Robert O.,
I am curious as to what records you think those years will set. Personally, I think that the amount of global warming rhetoric appearing in print will be broken in each of those years.

Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

As global warming and climate change get worse 2014, 15, 16, 17, etc. will no doubt be record setters with each progressive year overtaking the previous ones.