2011 is tied for the 10th hottest year since records began in 1850, the office said in its annual assessment of average global temperatures. The Arctic sea ice has also shrunk to record-low volumes this year, it said. The 13 hottest years on the books all have occurred in the last 15 years.
The IMO (International Meteorological Organization) report said high temperatures saturated the Earth despite a La Nina event, when low surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean has a cooling effect on the entire globe.
In an exhaustive study of extreme weather, the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported this month that such events will increase in frequency and intensity as the Earth continues to warm.
The IMO said the extent of Arctic sea ice in 2011 was the second-lowest on record, and its volume was the lowest. Scientists see the Arctic as the planet’s most sensitive region and a barometer of the future.
The largest departure from the norm occurred in northern Russia, where thermometers soared and average 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) above average in some places, and some stations reporting spring weather 16 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius) above normal.
The Russian Arctic and most of Siberia hold massive amounts of methane locked into the permafrost, carbon-rich soil that never thaws. Warmer summer temperatures mean a deeper thaw of permafrost and greater release of methane, a gas with a global warming potential 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.READ REST OF STORY HERE