A recent study by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) found the Earth is increasingly getting warmer each decade as humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gasses and pollutants combined with urbanisation and deforestation cause rapid changes to the environment.
Alarmingly the study revealed that between 2001-2010, the earth experienced the warmest decade on record since modern meteorological records began around 1850.
In fact, nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. Have a look at the alarming stats on the graph below.
The 2001–2010 decade was also the warmest on record for both land-only and ocean-only surface temperatures. The warmest worldwide land-only surface-air temperature was recorded in 2007, with a temperature anomaly of +0.95°C. The warmest worldwide ocean-only surface temperature was measured in 2003, with an anomaly of +0.4°C.
According to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, global-average atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide rose 39 per cent in 2010 (compared to pre-industrial times), methane 158 per cent and nitrous oxide 20 per cent.
This changing composition of the atmosphere is causing the global average temperature to rise, which, in turn, exerts a significant influence on the hydrological cycle and leads to other changes in climate and weather patterns.
When considered region by region, most areas of the world also experienced above average temperatures during the decade, particularly in 2010, when records were broken by over +1°C in some areas.
At the national level, a large majority of countries responding to the WMO survey reported that they experienced their warmest decade on record.
Have a look at the graphics below to see how different countries and regions have been affected in the last decade.