This year, 2010, is almost certain to rank in the top three hottest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported today at the U.N. climate negotiations in Cancún. The WMO also announced that the last decade (2001-2010) is the warmest 10-year period ever recorded.
But the record warmth is not surprising, according to EDF Scientist Lisa Moore:
This past year's record warmth foreshadows the long term trend. On this, the science is very clear: we're going to keep setting new records for decades to come.
If we want to minimize future warming, and eventually turn this trend around, we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.
EDF's India Program Manager Richie Ahuja says the implications for the developing world are particularly troubling:
In the rural sector, for example, small-scale farmers who are already struggling to survive are in danger of sinking further into poverty as climate change wreaks havoc on crops and agricultural production.
So while the numbers released today are grim, the impact is magnified in the microclimates across the developing world with severe consequences.