The world experienced “unprecedented high-impact climate extremes” between 2001 and 2010 and more national temperature records were broken during that period than in any other decade, the United Nations reports.
The report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes, says the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both land and ocean temperatures since measurements began in 1850. High temperatures were accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and an accelerating loss of the ice sheets of the world’s glaciers.
“Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat,” said Michel Jarraud, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which produced the report.
Extreme Floods, droughts and tropical cyclones were all experienced across the world throughout the decade, and more than 370,000 people died as a result of these, representing a 20 per cent increase in casualties from the previous decade.
Floods were the most frequently experienced extreme events over the course of the decade. Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and Australia were particularly affected, as well as Pakistan, where 2,000 people died and 20 million were affected by floods in 2010.