Cancun, Mexico: The year 2010 will be one of the warmest ever, climaxing a record-breaking decade, the UN`s World Meteorological Organisation has said at global climate talks.
"2010 is almost certain to be in the top three warmest years on record," WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud told a press conference yesterday. "It is probably the warmest one up to October-November."
He added: "The decade from 2001 to 2010 has set a new record, it will be the warmest decade ever since we have records."
The snapshot was published on the fourth day of the 12-day talks in Cancun under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Jarraud said he hoped the provisional assessment – a consensus of temperature data from four meteorological institutions -- would guide policymakers negotiating a post-2012 pact on global warming.
"This is the (scientific) foundation to say where we are now, these are the facts," he said. "Of course, if nothing is done, this curve will go on increasing and increasing, it will go up and up."
Only two other years, 1998 and 2005, have been warmer since records began, and only marginally so, said Jarraud. Reliable statistical records for world weather date from 1850.
The benchmark for warming is 14 degrees Celsius (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit), comprising the global combined surface temperatures of the air and sea from 1961-1990.
In 1998, temperatures were 0.53 C (0.95 F) above that level, and 2005 exceeded it by 0.52 C (0.93 F). For January-October 2010, there was a rise of 0.55 C (0.99 F), with a margin of error of plur or minus 0.11 C (0.17 F), although there are still two more months of monitoring left.
The final figures for 2010 will be issued next February.
In the decade from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46 C (0.82 F) above the 1960-1990 yardstick.
Jarraud said these measurements were a further indicator that global warming was on the march.