MADRID — It’s been a decade of “exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels” driven by rising greenhouse gases, the World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday.
The WMO released its provisional statement on the state of the climate on the second day of this year’s COP25 climate summit, another warning to delegates and politicians that drastic changes are necessary to cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals.
Average temperatures from 2010 to 2015 “are almost certain to be the highest on record,” the WMO said, adding this year was on course to be the second or third warmest. Global average temperature have risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since preindustrial levels — not far off the Paris Agreement’s aspirational 1.5-degree limit.
The report includes a long list of climate warnings, including record atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, accelerating sea level rise because of melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, record ocean heat levels and degradation of vital marine ecosystems.
“Heatwaves and floods which used to be ‘once in a century’ events are becoming more regular occurrences,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “Countries ranging from the Bahamas to Japan to Mozambique suffered the effect of devastating tropical cyclones. Wildfires swept through the Arctic and Australia.”
Another major challenge is more erratic rainfall which “poses a threat to crop yields and, combined with population increase, will mean considerable food security challenges for vulnerable countries in the future,” Taalas said. The WMO warned that climate variability and extreme weather events are key drivers of the recent rise in global hunger.