Past five years hottest on record: UN weather agency
Nov.9, Geneva: In a new detailed analysis of the global climate between 2011 and 2015 – the hottest 5-year period on record – the United Nations weather agency has found an increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts.
The record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a news release today.
“This report confirms that the average temperature in 2015 had already reached the 1 degree-Celsius mark. We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a news release announcing the report.
“Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016,” he added, recalling that the Paris Agreement on climate change aims to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2 degree-Celsius.
Even the 2015’s record of hottest year likely to be beaten in 2016.
WMO Secretary-General Taalas
Further in the report, WMO, the UN system’s authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, also highlighted some of the high-impact climate events.
These included the east African drought (2010-2012) that caused an estimated 258,000 deaths; the southern African drought (2013-2015); South-East Asia floods (2011) that killed 800 people and caused more than $40 billion in economic losses; heatwaves in India and Pakistan (2015) that claimed more than 4,100 lives; Hurricane Sandy (2012) which resulted $67 billion in economic losses in the United States; and Typhoon Haiyan (2013) which killed 7,800 people in the Philippines.
According to the agency, the five-year timescale allows for a better understanding of multi-year warming trends and extreme events such as prolonged droughts and recurrent heatwaves than an annual report.
The report further examined whether human-induced climate change was directly linked to individual extreme events.
Many individual extreme weather and climate events recorded during 2011-2015 were made more likely as a result of human-induced climate change, WMO said. In the case of some extreme high temperatures, the probability increased by a factor of ten or more.
The WMO report was submitted to the Twenty-second Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP 22, meeting Marrakech. The agency added that will release its provisional assessment of the state of the climate in 2016 on 14 November to support the discussions at COP22.
The Oslo Times International News Network