BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhuanet)-- The past decade has been the warmest since records began 160 years ago and the year 2009 ranks in the top ten warmest year, Britain's Met Office and UN World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday at the Copenhagen climate change summit.
"Despite 1998 being the warmest individual year, the last 10 years have clearly been the warmest period in the 160-year record of global surface temperature maintained jointly by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia," the statement from the U.K.'s national weather service said.
Figures show a steady rise in temperatures over the past four decades, with 2009 listed as likely to be the fifth warmest year since 1850. The U.K. data are derived from a rolling average of 10 years in the 2000 to 2009 period.
"In the last decade we have seen that the temperatures haven't gone up very much, but they are clearly a lot warmer then they were in the previous decade," said Doctor Vicky Pope, the head of climate change advice at the Met office.
Also, the UN World Meteorological Organization said there are abnormal temperatures in most parts of the world, but only the United States and Canada experience cooler conditions than average. Australia has so far had its third warmest year on record.
According to data sources compiled by the organization, the global combined sea- and land-surface air temperature for January to October 2009 is estimated at 0.44 degrees Celsius above the 1961 to 1990 annual average of 14.0 degrees Celsius.
The organization also said that this decade is warmer than the 1980s and 1990s.
Special report: Global Climate Change