On July 3, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a highly respected U.N. organization, issued a report showing that this year?s unusual weather?extreme temperatures, rainfalls, and storms?is directly related to climate change and global warming. ?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 agency reported. Switzerland had the hottest June on record; the United States had 562 May tornadoes (beating the previous record of 399 for one month); a heatwave in India killed 1,400 people; and the infrastructure and economy of Sri Lanka was greatly damaged by heavy rainfall from Tropical Cyclone 01B. ?New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing.?
The report was issued three months after the 2003 World Meteoroligical Day focused on, ?Our future climate.? In the opening address, Godwin Obasi, Secretary-General of WMO, stated, ?Over the last 30 years, a number of unprecedented extreme weather and climate events such as floods, tropical cyclones and droughts have occurred in various parts of the world. Globally, over the last 10 years, the number of hydrometeorological disasters has doubled. Worldwide, recurrent drought and desertification seriously threaten the livelihood of over 1.2 billion people who depend on the land for most of their needs.?
He added, ?Changes in climate are known to have occurred in the
past. However, such changes were due to natural causes. Recent
changes, such as the increase in the mean global temperature of 0.6
degreees Centigrade since instrumental records began in the 1860s,
are largely attributable to human activities.? The report showed
that the 10 hottest years since 1880, when records began, have all
been since 1990, with 1998, 2000, and 2001 as the hottest. The
trend is continuing with May 2003 being the second hottest on
record. Long forecast as a problem in the future, the WMO now says
global warming and climate change is a reality for which humans
must quickly address with workable solutions.
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