New Report Confirms 2000-2009: Warmest Decade on Record

Global Temperatures Continue Steady Climb

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 25, 2010) -- The World Meteorological Organization’s latest report demonstrates that 2000-2009 is the warmest decade since modern measurements began recording temperatures around 1850. In its annual report, “WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate,” the WMO also found that 2009 is nominally ranked as the fifth warmest on record.

These findings are consistent with similar reports about the global trends on warming patterns and follow the scientific predictions of the impacts of man-made global warming pollution. In particular, this warming trend is consistent with a preliminary report of rising temperatures from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Rising Temperatures” Reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also identify continued warming trends throughout the world. which indicates that global warming is continuing and predicts that “a new record 12-month global temperature will be set in 2010.

Following are statements on these findings:

Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO:
"Data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization confirms that 2009 was the fifth-warmest year on record, and 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850... A number of extreme weather and climate events were also recorded in 2009, including in particular heatwaves in China, India and southern Europe, as well as in Australia.”

Timothy Wirth, UN Foundation President:
“The fact that the past decade represents the hottest on record shouldn't surprise anyone who has been following the science. Continued warming of this sort jeopardizes the delicate balance between climatic and natural resource systems. A government's basic responsibility is to protect its citizens from risk - and increased global warming presents a multitude of them. We can't afford to wait until the next hottest decade report. This is a profound warning by itself.”

Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“This confirms what the world’s scientific community has been telling us for years: global climate change is happening and we can expect similar changes in global weather patterns in the coming years. It's up to leaders in the U.S. and around the world to take action that will lower carbon emissions or we will suffer serious consequences to our planet, our health and our economy.”

Keya Chatterjee, Acting Director, WWF’s Climate Change Program:
“WMO’s report adds to the rapidly growing body of solid evidence showing that we have set a very dangerous course at the beginning of the century. The challenge for the next decade is clear: we must prepare for the disruptive consequences, while making every effort to slow the long term pace of climate change by reducing emissions. The sooner we act, the more likely we are in 2020 to look back on this decade without regret – and to look toward the next decade with hope.”

Key findings of the WMO Report:

  • 2000 - 2009 was the warmest decade on record since the beginning of modern instrumental measurements around 1850.
  • 2009 is nominally ranked as the fifth warmest year on record.
  • During the year, extreme warm episodes were frequently recorded in southern South America, Australia and southern Asia. While parts of the United States, Canada and Siberia experienced cooler temperatures than average; in the southern hemisphere, August and November set new temperature records.