The World Meteorological Organisation on Tuesday said that the earth was hotter in 2016 than it ever has been before and that it has become “more and more evident” that human activities are influencing climate change. In its annual statement on the State of the Global Climate, the WMO said that 2016 was marked with “a record global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat”. The extremes will continue into 2017, and the world was moving into “truly unchartered territory”, the report said.
The statement was based on data from leading climate analysis centres around the world. The WMO also teamed up with the UN for the first time to include information on the social and economic impacts of climate change. Temperatures in 2016 were “ a remarkable 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial period”, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.
The range of studies cited in the report “demonstrate clearly the existence of links between man-made climate change and many cases of high impact extreme events in particular heatwaves”. Since 2001, every year has recorded temperatures at least 0.4 °C above the average for 1961-1990, the report said. Other than Greenhouse gas emissions, the El Niño phenomenon also caused global sea levels to rise significantly.
The report will be presented to the member states of the United Nations and at a major climate change event scheduled for New York on March 23 titled “Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda”. March 23 is World Meteorological Day.
Climate scientists expressed concern after reading the reports, calling for immediate action. “Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” Jeffrey Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona told The Guardian. Dr Phil Williamson, an associate fellow at the University of East Anglia told The Independent, “The WMO’s statement on the 2016 climate leaves no room for doubt [that climate change is linked to human activities]…Those who dispute that link are not sceptics, but anti-science deniers.”
The Donald Trump administration in the United States has been denying that humans have anything to do with climate change, consistent with the long-time stance of the Republican party, which believes worldwide calls to cut emissions are propaganda against business interests. Among Trump’s campaign planks was pulling the US out of the 2016 Paris Agreement, in which countries all over the world vowed to adopt measures to limit climate change.