Thursday, January 16, 2020

It's getting hotter

The past decade was the hottest on record, the UN
said,  warning the higher temperatures were expected to fuel numerous extreme weather events in 2020 and beyond.  WMO said average global temperatures during both the past five-year (2015-2019) and 10-year (2010-2019) periods were the highest ever recorded.

"Since the 1980s each decade has been warmer than the previous one," the UN agency said, warning "this trend is expected to continue".  
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said increases in global temperatures had already had dire consequences, pointing to "retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather".

Its research also confirmed data released by the European Union's climate monitor last week showing that 2019 was the second hottest on record, after 2016.

"The year 2020 has started out where 2019 left off - with high-impact weather and climate-related events," WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement, pointing in particular to the devastating bushfires that have been raging in Australia for months. 

"Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Taalas said. "On the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, we are heading towards a temperature increase of 3-5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century," he warned.  

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said the trend line was unmistakable and could not be attributed to normal climate variability.  "What's happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon. We know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," he said.
"It is no surprise that 2019 was the second hottest year on record - nature has been persistently reminding us that we have to pick up the pace," said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice, calling for dramatic measures to halt the warming trend.

"If we look at all the impacts around the world that are now occurring as a result of this warming, it is obvious that we are not succeeding in preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system," said Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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