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Warming signs from State of Climate report

Warming signs from State of Climate report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched today by U.S. and New Zealand scientists.

Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 were observed, while Southern Hemisphere warmth and super typhoon Haiyan were among year's most notable events. Other key findings include:

• Climbing concentrations of greenhouse gases, levels once again reach historic high values
• Globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 among the 10 warmest on record
• Continued rise in sea level
• Continued warming of the Arctic
The full report, highlights and visuals are available from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society.

The SMC NZ rounded up the following comments from experts involved in the report. Feel free to use these quotes directly, or for assistance reaching these or other experts for follow up, contact the SMC.

James Renwick, Assoc. Prof School of Geography, Victoria University of Wellington and editor of the report comments:

"The 2013 State of the Climate Report demonstrates that the Earth continues to warm, as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise.

"Southern Hemisphere countries felt this most clearly in 2013, with Australia having its warmest year on record, Argentina its 2nd warmest, and New Zealand its 3rd warmest year on record. Extreme events with large human and economic costs feature prominently in many parts of the globe (including the summer 2012/13 drought in northern New Zealand), underlining the rising frequency and cost of extremes associated with a changing climate.

"As climate change, sea level rise and ocean acidification pick up pace this century, the risks to humanity become enormous. It is still not too late to avoid catastrophic impacts, but the time for action is now."

Brett Mullan, Principal Scientist - Climate, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) comments:

"NOAA's State of the Climate report gives a comprehensive picture of 2013 weather and climate events. The year 2013 was the third warmest year on record for New Zealand, with the winter of 2013 being the warmest ever. The year as a whole was the warmest on record for Australia, and tied at 6th warmest for the globe. June 2013 saw the hottest June temperature ever recorded on Earth, of 54.0C in Death Valley, California; and July saw the highest temperature ever recorded in Greenland of 25.9C.

"The recently released Fifth Assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that increased strength of tropical cyclones is likely as the globe warms. October 2013 saw cyclone Phailin, the second-strongest cyclone to hit India since modern records began; November 2013 saw super typhoon Haiyan, with the strongest maximum winds of any tropical cyclone on record, and the largest storm surge ever recorded in the Philippines.

"These and many other statistics in the NOAA Report, such as floods and widespread droughts, serve as a timely reminder of extreme weather events that are expected to become more frequent as the globe warms."


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