2012 ninth warmest year on record

The World Meteorological Organisation released its annual statement on climate in May, confirming 2012’s place among the top ten warmest years on record since 1850. Global land and ocean temperatures were 0.45°C (+0.11°C) warmer than the average (14°C) from 1961 to 1990. All the years from 2001 to 2012 have been in the warmest 13 on record, and 2012 is the 27th year in a row to see temperatures above that 1961 to 1990 average.

Regardless of annual variations – e.g. those caused by El Niño cycles, volcanic eruptions etc. – this sustained warming of the lower atmosphere is not good news. Worse, it is set to continue this way. 2012 was a year of extremes, with temperatures and precipitation levels higher than average in some areas and lower than average in others. It was a year of droughts and cyclones, and of the most extreme loss of Arctic ice sheet on the 34-year satellite record. This climate variability also looks set to continue.