Gases blamed for global warming reached record levels in the atmosphere last year, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) touched new highs after more steady rises in 2007, and methane had its largest annual increase in a decade, the World Meteorological Organisation said.

GENEVA - The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica has already surpassed its 2007 size this year, and is set to keep growing for another few weeks, the UN weather agency said on Tuesday.

The Antarctic ozone hole appears every year and normally stretches to about the size of North America, reaching its maximum size in late September or early October.
But in 2008, the World Meteorological Organisation said the protective layer, which shields the Earth from ultra-violet rays that can cause skin cancer, began to thin relatively late.

Reminding the aftermath of natural disasters and the role of scientists to fight that, President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday called upon the world community to work unitedly to face the challenges of climate change and make the planet a better place to live in.

He described scientists as the most important representatives of humankind and asked them to give suggestions to the world community to protect the planet.

The president was addressing at the inaugural session of the six-day International symposium on "Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia" at a city hotel.

A six-day international symposium on 'Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia' will begin in the city tomorrow.

Dhaka University and Ohio State University of the USA, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (Escap) will jointly organise the symposium.

Some 70 foreign and 200 local experts mainly from Dhaka University and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) will take part in the symposium.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth is going green by investing in the largest wind turbine in the world, her property company the Crown Estate said on Wednesday. The Estate, which owns most of the seabed off Britain's shores, regularly leases out its land to wind farm projects but has never invested in the turbines. With a capacity of 7.5 megawatts, the Crown has gone for the biggest yet. "This is not something we've ever done before and I think it will raise quite a few eyebrows," Ben Barton, the company's offshore manager for wind farms said.

The World Meteorological Organisation said on Wednesday that Burma had issued warnings ahead of the devastating cyclone, but could not confirm whether they reached the population. The WMO also said it is unclear if Burma has contingency plans to deal with natural disasters, such as the one which has left 22,000 dead, and that it will send a team to help the country develop such emergency procedures.

The recovery of the depleted ozone layer may take 5-15 years more than that estimated earlier, says a recent study. It found that the regeneration of the protective layer will be pushed back from 2044 to 2049 over the mid-latitudes (300-600 North and South) and from 2050 to 2065 over Antarctica.

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