Trend: climate change is getting worse. WMO Report

Climate Change 2016/17

Climate change has been a global issue for many years and numerous nations have put agreements in place aiming to lower carbon (CO2) emissions and global temperatures. However, throughout the years climate change levels have continued to rise and are now at a new, concerning level. The detailed global analysis shows that 2016 was not only the warmest year to date, but it also saw an alarming atmospheric CO2 increase.

These new circumstances are now referred to as unusual and extreme conditions.

The World Meteorological Organisation Report

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) released a report that expands on the research within the global analysis, gathering information from 80 national weather services. This report was produced to provide an in depth, complete picture of the years climate data.

2016’s Climate Data

When looking at the new temperatures of 2016, it is evident that temperatures were significantly higher than previous years. For example, 2016 was 0.83℃ warmer than the 1961-1990 reference period average, 0.06℃ warmer than 2015 (the previous warmest year on record) and a significant 1.1℃ above temperatures in the pre-industrial period.

Temperatures in the Arctic were around 3℃ above the 1961-1990 average causing many ice caps to disintegrate and the destruction of many habitats.

A Rise in CO2

As well as 2016 being the warmest year to date, it was also the year to experience the quickest rise in CO2 levels. This was to be expected as a result of El Niño weakening the tropical carbon sink, adding to the high level of CO2 already created by human emissions.

Will This Temperature Increase Continue in 2017?

The WMO announced that these extreme trends have continued into 2017 and at least three times during this winter (2016/2017) the Arctic has experienced the equivalent of a heatwave, with warm air spreading across the region.

These changes in the Arctic have led to a shift in the atmospheric circulation pattern, causing heatwaves to spread into other countries such as Australia and the Middle East.

Greenhouse Gases

There is added concern since the United States presidential election in 2016. The new administration has already rolled back some of the global warming measures implemented by President Obama. Along with this, the newly appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, denies that CO2 is a primary contributor to global warming.

However, David Carlson, World Climate Research Programme Director at the WMO, assures us that “Human-driven climate change is now an empirically verifiable fact, combining year-to-year variability with the consequences of our release of extra greenhouse gases. Those who dispute that link are not sceptics, but anti-science deniers.”

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