Decade of exceptional global heat and high-impact weather marks close of 2019

The WMO provisional statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 was released at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. It reports that the global average temperature in 2019 (January to October) was about 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial period.

With this, 2019 marks the end of a decade of exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels driven by greenhouse gases from human activities. Average temperatures for the five-year (2015−2019) and ten-year (2010−2019) periods are almost certain to be the highest on record. It is also on course to be the second or third warmest year on record, states the report.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record level of 407.8 parts per million in 2018 and continued to rise in 2019. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries and the ocean for even longer, thus locking in climate change.

“On a day-to-day basis, the impacts of climate change play out through extreme and ‘abnormal’ weather. And, once again in 2019, weather and climate related risks hit hard. Heatwaves and floods which used to be ‘once in a century’ events are becoming more regular occurrences. Countries ranging from the Bahamas to Japan to Mozambique suffered the effect of devastating tropical cyclones. Wildfires swept through the Arctic and Australia,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The report is made possible through information sourced from a large number of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and associated institutions, as well as regional climate centres, the World Climate Research Programme, the Global Atmosphere Watch and Global Cryosphere Watch. It also devotes an extensive section to weather and climate impacts on human health, food security, migration, ecosystems and marine life. This is based on input from a wide range of United Nations partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

The provisional State of the Global Climate report provides an authoritative source of information for the United Nations climate change negotiations and complements the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The final Statement on the State of the Global Climate with complete 2019 data will be released in March 2020.

More information available here.


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