WMO: The world is heating up

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The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released its Statement on the State of Global Climate in 2019, confirming that temperatures are rising on the land and in the oceans.

The report includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, international experts, scientific institutions and UN agencies.

It confirms provisional statements issued at the UN Climate Change Conference in December that 2019 was the second warmest year on record.

The report also confirms that 2015-19 were the five warmest years on record, 2010-19 was the warmest decade, and each successive decade since the 1980s has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.

Average global temperatures were 1.1°C above estimated pre-industrial levels, with Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, warning that the world will not meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

He said, “This report outlines the latest science and illustrates the urgency for far-reaching climate action. It brings together data from across the fields of climate science and lists the potential future impacts of climate change – from health and economic consequences to decreased food security and increased displacement.”

Petteri Taalas, WMO secretary-general, added, “Temperature is one indicator of ongoing climate change. Changes in the global distribution of rainfall have had a major impact on several countries. Sea levels are rising at an increasing pace, largely due to the thermal expansion of sea water as well as melting of the largest glaciers, such as those in Greenland and Antarctica. This is exposing coastal areas and islands to a greater risk of flooding and the submersion of low-lying areas.”

The report highlights increased greenhouse gases and oceans warming up, causing dramatic changes to marine ecosystems, rising sea levels and reduced sea ice. It also discusses extreme weather events such as flooding, droughts, heatwaves, wildfires and tropical cyclones.

The report was released at a press conference given by Guterres and Taalas at the UN’s headquarters on March 10.

The full report is available here.

The WMO has released a video to go with the report, click here to view it.

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