2016 will very likely be the hottest year on record and a new high for the third year in a row, according to the UN. It means 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been this century.
The scorching temperatures around the world, and the extreme weather they drive, mean the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected, according to scientists.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, published on Monday at the global climate summit in Morocco, found the global temperature in 2016 is running 1.2C above pre-industrial levels. This is perilously close to to the 1.5C target included as an aim of the Paris climate agreement last December.
The El Niño weather phenomenon helped push temperatures even higher in early 2016 but the global warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities remains the strongest factor.
“Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen,” he said. “‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular.” “Another year. Another record,” said WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas. “The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue.”
The WMO said human-induced global warming had contributed to at least half the extreme weather events studied in recent years, with the risk of extreme heat increasing by 10 times in some cases.
“It is almost as if mother nature is making a statement,” said climate scientist Michael Mann, at Penn State University in the US. “Just as one of the planet’s two largest emitters of carbon has elected a climate change denier [Donald Trump] – who has threatened to pull out of the Paris accord – to the highest office, she reminds us that she has the final word.”
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Damian Carrington