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 April 16, 2010
Tomorrow's Weather - Warm and Getting Warmer

 The first decade of the new millennium was the warmest on record according to the United Nations weather monitoring agency the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

"The decade of the 2000s was warmer than the decade of the 1990s, which in turn was warmer than the 1980s," said Omar Baddour, Chief of the Data Management Application Divisions at WMO.

The new findings are part of the WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate, an annual survey by the agency about the weather and climate change.

The decade between 2000 and 2009 included one of the warmest years on record - last year, which was the fifth hottest year since records began.

"The current nominal ranking of 2009 places it as the fifth-warmest year since the beginning of instrumental climate records [in 1850]," Mr. Baddour said yesterday.

Last year also brought extreme weather, ranging from devastating droughts to severe floods, extreme heat waves and cold waves, in many parts of the world, according to the newly released WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate.

The Southern Hemisphere was particularly warmer than the long-term average, while the Northern Hemisphere cooled at the end of 2009 with heavy snowfall in Europe, North America and northern Asia.

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State of the Climate Global Analysis March 2010 - Global Highlights

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for March 2010 was the warmest on record at 13.5C (56.3F), which is 0.77C (1.39F) above the 20th century average of 12.7C (54.9F). This was also the 34th consecutive March with global land and ocean temperatures above the 20th century average.

  • The March worldwide land surface temperature was 1.36C (2.45F) above the 20th century average of 5.0C (40.8F)-the fourth warmest on record.

  • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.56C (1.01F) above the 20th century average of 15.9C (60.7F) and the warmest March on record.

  • For the year-to-date, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 13.0C (55.3F) was the fourth warmest January-March period. This value is 0.66C (1.19F) above the 20th century average.

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature anomaly for March 2010 was 0.77C (1.39F) above the 20th century average, resulting in the warmest March since records began in 1880.

  • The previous record was set in 2002 when temperatures were 0.74C (1.33F) above the 20th century average.

  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) during March 2010 were warmer than average across much of the world's oceans, with the cooler-than-average conditions across the higher-latitude southern oceans, across parts of the northern Pacific Ocean, and along the western coast of South America

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Why are Anomolies Important?

In climate change studies, temperature anomalies are more important than absolute temperature.

A temperature anomaly is the difference from an average, or baseline, temperature. The baseline temperature is typically computed by averaging 30 or more years of temperature data.

A positive anomaly indicates the observed temperature was warmer than the baseline, while a negative anomaly indicates the observed temperature was cooler than the baseline.

Source: www.un.org