This year is the seventh warmest since records began in 1850 with a trend to weather extremes and the impact of storms such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines aggravated by rising sea levels, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday (November 13).
A build-up of manmade greenhouse gases in the atmosphere meant a warmer future was now inevitable, WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jeremiah Lengoasa told a news conference on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks among almost 200 nations in Warsaw.
The WMO, giving a provisional overview, said the first nine months of the year tied with the same period of 2003 as seventh warmest, with average global land and ocean surface temperatures 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 1961-1990 average.
Lengoasa said 2013 was likely to end among the top ten warmest years since records began. He added that individual tropical cyclones, such as Haiyan, could not be directly attributed to the effects of climate change.
"We cannot at this stage attribute a single typhoon to climate change. What we do know of course is that climate change affects sea levels and sea level rise, secondly climate change affects ocean surface temperatures and this context, as you would know, these are fuelled...these storms are fuelled by warmer oceans over which they form and over which they pass," he said, adding that it was not known whether tropical cyclones would become more frequent or not.
"The jury is still out on whether in fact tropical cyclones will become more frequent in the future but certainly we can see the extremities of the storms are only increasing because the conditions under which they are created are changing."
Other extremes this year have included record heat-waves in Australia and flooding in several areas including Sudan and large areas of Europe, the WMO said. Japan had its warmest summer on record.
In September, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) raised the probability that mankind was the main cause of warming since 1950 to at least 95 percent from a previous assessment of 90 percent, in 2007.
It predicted impacts including more heat-waves, downpours and rising sea levels.
Presented by Adam Justice