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ENVIRONMENT REPORT – Second Hottest Year - 2003-01-02

Broadcast: January 3, 2003

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

Temperatures around the world continue to rise. United Nations scientists say they believe two-thousand-two was one of the warmest years ever measured. The scientists also say they expect the coming years will get even hotter.

The U-N’s World Meteorological Organization reports that last year was the second warmest since record keeping began in eighteen-sixty. Nineteen-ninety-eight remains the warmest year ever measured.

Ken Davidson is the director of the World Meteorological Organization’s World Climate Program. He says the ten warmest years all happened after nineteen-eighty-seven. Of those ten, nine happened after nineteen-ninety. He says the rate of temperature increase over the past twenty-five years is greater than that over the past one-thousand years.

Mister Davidson says the organization agrees with scientific findings that global warming is happening as a result of human activities. He says one reason for the higher temperatures is the expansion of cities. Studies show that cities are hotter than other areas. Mister Davidson says another influence is the release of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases. Industrial gases have been shown to increase temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere.

The new report says many areas experienced unusual weather in two-thousand-two. Most of Asia, for example, was warmer than usual. India had unusually high temperatures in April and May. The extremely hot weather caused hundreds of deaths. There also were extremely dry conditions across India. Parts of Africa experienced unusually heavy rains. Yet other areas in Africa had unusually dry weather.

A severe ocean storm hit South Korea in August. It set a new national record for rainfall. In central Europe, more than one-hundred people died in flooding caused by heavy rainfall in September. The flooding also resulted in thousands of millions of dollars in property damage. Yet large parts of North and South America had extremely dry weather.

The World Meteorological Organization also reported that a moderate El Nino weather system in the Pacific Ocean is expected to last until about April. The system has been bringing warmer weather to the eastern Pacific Ocean since the middle of last year.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by George Grow.