This is the warmest decade, WMO says

Ally Jamah in Cancun, Mexico.

Delegates at the ongoing climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico heard that 2010 was among the hottest years in recorded history, a fact which may add urgency to the talks to tackle climate change.

Latest data from the World Meteorological Organisation released Saturday showed that the global sea and land surface air temperature for 2010 was among the highest since 1850.

Final analysis in early 2011 will indicate whether it will beat 1998 and 2005 as the warmest years ever. Warmer –than-usual areas include East

Africa, other parts of Africa, Canada and Greenland.

"The deviation from normal temperatures ranged from 1-3 degrees centigrade which is very significant. This may due to climate change induced by humans," said the WMO’s Secretary General Michel Jarraud.

The report also indicated that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade in recorded history.

These latest figures may fuel calls for stronger and speedier action against climate change, which is currently hampered by disputes between developed and developing countries.

The top WMO official also reported extreme weather events like floods and intense drought in different parts of the world where they were not

expected, showing a growing irregularity of climate.

This report feeds in into the last announcement by the Meteorological department of Kenya, which projected a hot and dry period for the rest of

the year and early 2011, thanks to La Nina. The drought is expected to be intense and may affect food and water supplies like in 2009, when hunger was declared a national disaster.

In another development, the WMO revealed that concentrations of the main greenhouse gases in the world’s atmosphere have reached their highest levels recorded since pre-industrial times.

This is significant since greenhouses are blamed for climate change, by trapping heat in the atmosphere and increasing global temperatures. These include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

"Greenhouse gas concentrations have reached record levels despite the economic slowdown. They would have been even higher without the

international action taken to reduce them," said Jarraud.

Meanwhile negotiators at Cancun are reportedly close to sealing a deal on financing developing countries like Kenya to adapt to climate change and develop environmentally-friendly technologies.

This may see Kenya receive billions of shillings every year from a special fund to be established to make the economy and agriculture more resilient

against drought and higher temperatures.