Perennial sea ice is melting in the Arctic.
Extreme weather a record in 2005: scientists
Updated Wed. Dec. 7 2005 6:23 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Scientists at the United Nations conference on climate change in Montreal are set to reveal just how much global warming is wreaking havoc with the world -- making 2005 a record year for weather extremes.
According to records, 2005 has been hotter than any other year since records began, with the global temperature already slightly warmer than 1998, the current record holder.
It was also the worst Atlantic hurricane season, with the most named tropical storms (26), most hurricanes (14), most top-category hurricanes (5) and most expensive hurricane damage.
This year also saw the most Arctic melting and is the driest for many decades in the Amazon, while higher temperatures in the Caribbean led to extensive bleaching of coral reefs.
Climate researchers say night-time temperatures have been increasing for two-thirds of the earth's land mass since 1950. They say the rise is directly linked to increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases generated by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels.
"We are seeing the fingerprints of climate change on the physical world," Lara Hansen, of the WWF, formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund, told the Toronto Star.
Hansen and a team of colleagues compiled the list of extreme weather records using official sources, including U.S. government agencies and the World Meteorological Organization.
"This isn't a domino effect, with the warm Caribbean causing Arctic ice to melt. We have a lot of these things going on simultaneously and they've all been predicted as consequences of climate change," she added.
Gordon McBean, former head of the Meteorological Service of Canada, says it's unlikely all these things are happening purely by chance.
"All this is what climate scientists have been warning would happen," McBean told the Star.
Meanwhile, The Colorado State University hurricane research team says 2006 will be a tough year for weather extremes too.
The team told Reuters Tuesday that nine of 17 storms predicted for 2006 would become Atlantic hurricanes, with five of them intense, or "major," hurricanes with winds exceeding 110 mph.