2017- One of three hottest years on record – WMO 

The World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) said on Monday that it is very likely that 2017 will be one of the three hottest years on record with many high-impact events like catastrophic hurricanes and floods, debilitating heat-waves and drought. 

As a result of a powerful El Niño, 2016 is likely to remain the warmest year on record, with 2017 and 2015 being second and/or third. 2013-2017 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record.

A release issued by the UNFCCC after a press conference with Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General in Bonn and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, sea level rise and ocean acidification continue unabated have on record this year. 

The WMO statement which covers January to September was released on the opening day of the United Nations climate change conference in Bonn on Monday.

According to the release, a WMO statement said Arctic sea ice coverage remained below average and previously stable antarctic sea ice extent was at or near a record low.

The WMO provisional statement on the state of the climate said the average global temperature from January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era.

It included information submitted by a wide range of UN agencies on human, socio-economic and environmental impacts as part of a drive to provide a more comprehensive, UN-wide policy brief for decision makers on the interplay between weather, climate and water and the UN global goals.

“The past three years have all been in the top three years in terms of temperature records. This is part of a long term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“We have witnessed extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa.

“Many of these events – and detailed scientific studies will determine exactly how many – bear the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities,” he said.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change which is hosting the Bonn conference, said: “These findings underline the rising risks to people, economies and the very fabric of life on Earth if we fail to get on track with the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement”.

“There is unprecedented and very welcome momentum among governments, but also cities, states, territories, regions, business and civil society. 

Bonn 2017 needs to be the launch pad towards the next, higher level of ambition by all nations and all sectors of society as we look to de-risk the future and maximise the opportunities from a fresh, forward-looking and sustainable development path, “she added.

Extreme events affect the food security of millions of people, especially the most vulnerable. 

It said a review of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) found that, in developing countries, agriculture (crops, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry) accounted for 26 per cent of all the damage and loss associated with medium to large-scale storms, floods and drought.

According to the WHO, the global health impacts of heat-waves depend not only on the overall warming trend, but on how heat-waves were distributed across where people live. 

Recent research shows that the overall risk of heat-related illness or deaths climbed steadily since 1980, with around 30 per cent of the world’s population now living in climatic conditions that deliver prolonged extreme heat-waves. 

Between 2000 and 2016, the number of vulnerable people exposed to heat-wave events have increased by approximately 125 million.

In 2016, 23.5 million people were displaced during weather-related disasters. Consistent with previous years, the majority of these internal displacements were associated with floods or storms and occurred in the Asia-Pacific region. In Somalia, more than 760 000 internal displacements have been reported, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook indicates that adverse consequences are concentrated in countries with relatively hot climates.

Global mean temperature for the period January to September 2017 was 0.47°±0.08°C warmer than the 1981-2010 average (estimated at 14.31°C). 

Parts of southern Europe, including Italy, North Africa, parts of east and southern Africa and the Asian part of the Russian Federation were record warm and China was the equal warmest. The north-western USA and western Canada were cooler than the 1981-2010 average.

Temperatures in 2016 and, to an extent, 2015, were boosted by an exceptionally strong El Niño. 2017 and is set to be the warmest year on record without an El Niño influence. 

The five-year average 2013-2017 is provisionally 0.40°C warmer than the 1981-2010 average and approximately 1.03°C above the pre-industrial period.

The WMO statement is based on five independently maintained global temperature data sets. 
WMO now uses 1981-2010 instead of the previous 1961-1990 baseline as it is more representative of current climatic conditions and allows for more consistent reporting of information from satellite and reanalysis systems (some of which do not extend back to 1960) alongside more traditional data sets based on surface-observations. The change in the baselines has no influence on trend analysis.

On greenhouse gas, the rate of increase in CO2 from 2015 to 2016 was the highest on record, 3.3 parts per million/year, reaching 403.3 parts per million. Global average figures for 2017 will not be available until late 2018. 

Real-time data from a number of specific locations indicate that levels of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide continued to increase in 2017.

Source: GNA

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