The last eight years were the hottest ever recorded on Earth: World Meteorological Organization report
A startling new report released by the World Meteorological Organization at the start of Sunday's United Nations Climate Change Conference revealed that the last eight years were the hottest ever recorded on planet Earth. According to the WMO's provisional State of the Global Climate, the unprecedented global temperatures were "fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat. Extreme heatwaves, drought, and devastating flooding have affected millions and cost billions this year."
The WMO's sobering findings underscore the tangible consequences of the relentless dumping of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
"The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change are becoming more dramatic. The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993. It has risen by nearly 10 mm since January 2020 to a new record high this year. The past two and a half years alone account for 10 percent of the overall rise in sea level since satellite measurements started nearly 30 years ago. 2022 took an exceptionally heavy toll on glaciers in the European Alps, with initial indications of record-shattering melt. The Greenland ice sheet lost mass for the 26th consecutive year and it rained (rather than snowed) there for the first time in September," the WMO explained.
"The global mean temperature in 2022 is currently estimated to be about 1.15 [1.02 to 1.28] degrees C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average. A rare triple-dip cooling La Niña means that 2022 is likely to 'only' be fifth or sixth warmest. However, this does not reverse the long-term trend; it is only a matter of time until there is another warmest year on record. Indeed, the warming continues," the WMO wrote. "The 10-year average for the period 2013-2022 is estimated to be 1.14 [1.02 to 1.27] degrees C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial baseline. This compares with 1.09 degrees C from 2011 to 2020, as estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment report. Ocean heat was at record levels in 2021 (the latest year assessed), with the warming rate particularly high in the past 20 years."
The WMO's assessment follows another warning issued by the UN this past Thursday that a third of the world's glaciers "will disappear" by 2050 – a direct result of the ever-increasing concentration of greenhouse gases and the solar heat that they trap. WMO Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas noted that the disruptions to Earth's natural systems will extend far into the distant future.
"It’s already too late for many glaciers and the melting will continue for hundreds if not thousands of years, with major implications for water security," he said, adding that "the rate of sea level rise has doubled in the past 30 years. Although we still measure this in terms of millimeters per year, it adds up to half to one meter per century and that is a long-term and major threat to many millions of coastal dwellers and low-lying states."
The WMO is scheduled to release the final draft of its State of the Global Climate next April.
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