The United Nations on Wednesday said the past decade was the hottest on record, and warned that extreme weather events were likely to prevail throughout 2020 and the coming decades, AFP reported.

The World Meteorological Organization based its findings on an analysis of leading international datasets. It said increase in global temperature had led to dire consequences, referring to “retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather”.

The research showed that the average global temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and was creeping towards a globally agreed limit after which major changes to life on Earth are expected.

“Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” the meteorological organisation’s Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

The meteorological organisation said its research also confirmed that 2019 was the second-hottest year since records started to be kept. The data on this was released by the European Union’s climate monitor last week. The previous hottest year on record was 2016, when the El Nino weather pattern pushed the average surface temperature to 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the UN body added.

Australia had its hottest, driest year ever a precursor to the deadly bushfires that claimed 28 lives. “The year 2020 has started out where 2019 left off with high-impact weather and climate-related events,” Taalas added.

Meanwhile, conservationists said the UN agency’s findings were on expected lines. “It is no surprise that 2019 was the second hottest year on record nature has been persistently reminding us that we have to pick up the pace,” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of World Wide Fund for Nature’s global climate and energy practice. He called for dramatic measures to halt the warming trend.