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Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert

In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme
weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night
that the world's weather is going haywire.
03 July 2003
The Independent

In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme
weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night
that the world's weather is going haywire.

In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed
scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end,
highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over
the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a
record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to
climate change.

The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the
fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth,
but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to
hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to claim that
the direst warnings of climate change are being borne out).

The Geneva-based body, to which the weather services of 185 countries
contribute, takes the view that events this year in Europe, America
and Asia are so remarkable that the world needs to be made aware of
it immediately.

The extreme weather it documents, such as record high and low
temperatures, record rainfall and record storms in different parts of
the world, is consistent with predictions of global warming.
Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate
not only becomes hotter but much more unstable. "Recent scientific
assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to
warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme
events might increase," the WMO said, giving a striking series of
examples.

In southern France, record temperatures were recorded in June, rising
above 40C in places - temperatures of 5C to 7C above the average.

In Switzerland, it was the hottest June in at least 250 years,
environmental historians said. In Geneva, since 29 May, daytime
temperatures have not fallen below 25C, making it the hottest June
recorded.

In the United States, there were 562 May tornadoes, which caused 41
deaths. This set a record for any month. The previous record was 399
in June 1992.

In India, this year's pre-monsoon heatwave brought peak temperatures
of 45C - 2C to 5C above the norm. At least 1,400 people died in India
due to the hot weather. In Sri Lanka, heavy rainfall from Tropical
Cyclone 01B exacerbated wet conditions, resulting in flooding and
landslides and killing at least 300 people. The infrastructure and
economy of south-west Sri Lanka was heavily damaged. A reduction of
20-30 per cent is expected in the output of low-grown tea in the next
three months.

Last month was also the hottest in England and Wales since 1976, with
average temperatures of 16C. The WMO said: "These record extreme
events (high temperatures, low temperatures and high rainfall amounts
and droughts) all go into calculating the monthly and annual
averages, which, for temperatures, have been gradually increasing
over the past 100 years.

"New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe,
but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing.

"According to recent climate-change scientific assessment reports of
the joint WMO/United Nations Environmental Programme
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global average surface
temperature has increased since 1861. Over the 20th century the
increase has been around 0.6C.

"New analyses of proxy data for the northern hemisphere indicate that
the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have
been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years."

While the trend towards warmer temperatures has been uneven over the
past century, the trend since 1976 is roughly three times that for
the whole period.

Global average land and sea surface temperatures in May 2003 were the
second highest since records began in 1880. Considering land
temperatures only, last May was the warmest on record.

It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The
10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have
now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and
2001.

The unstable world of climate change has long been a prediction. Now,
the WMO says, it is a reality.
extreme weather due to global warming, what a shock 04.Jul.2003 15:28

concerned

The Independent can be pretty decent but this article leaves much to be desired. Oh, now we're supposed to take global warming seriously because now it comes from the World Meteorological Organisation. Give me a break, scientists have been predicting this for going on 4 decades now. This is no surprise, other than ho wlong it took this group to start issueing warnings. Maybe if they had said something a little sooner they may have actually helped (not likely, but it sure won't make a difference now). There has been such tremendous amounts of legitimate science coming out, especially in the past 2 decades that everyone who is willing to accept the reality, already has. Those that wish to deny it will continue to deny it despite the World Meteorological Organisation. While I like having more studies to draw from, everything in this artile is stuff that I've known for over a year (2003 being the hottest on record, for example, was predicted last year by numerous scientists). Glad that more people are talking, but this is nothing new, and not likely to have any impact so far as I can see.