Virtually certain that 2023 will be the warmest year, says WMO report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Virtually certain that 2023 will be the warmest year, says WMO report

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
Nov 30, 2023 11:16 PM IST

This year (until the end of October) was about 1.40 degrees Celsius warmer over the pre-industrial (1850-1900) baseline, the World Meteorological Organisation said on the opening day of the UN Climate Summit (COP28) in Dubai , adding that 2023 will be the warmest year irrespective of the last two months of the year.

This year (until the end of October) was about 1.40 degrees Celsius warmer over the pre-industrial (1850-1900) baseline, the World Meteorological Organisation said on the opening day of the UN Climate Summit (COP28) in Dubai , adding that 2023 will be the warmest year irrespective of the last two months of the year.

Maruja Inquilla walks on a dried out portion of Lake Titicaca in Coata, Peru, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, due to falling water levels amid a winter heat wave. (AP)
Maruja Inquilla walks on a dried out portion of Lake Titicaca in Coata, Peru, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, due to falling water levels amid a winter heat wave. (AP)

The difference between 2023 and 2016 and 2020 -- which were previously ranked as the warmest years -- is such that the final two months are very unlikely to affect the ranking, WMO’s provisional State of the Global Climate report said.

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“Based on the data to October, it is virtually certain that 2023 will be the warmest year in the 174-year observational record, surpassing the previous joint warmest years, 2016 at around 1.29 degree C above the 1850–1900 average and 2020 at 1.27 degree C. Record monthly global temperatures have been observed for the ocean – from April through to October – and, starting slightly later, the land – from July through to October,” the WMO report said.

The past nine years, 2015 to 2023, were also the warmest on record. “The warming El Niño event, which emerged during the Northern Hemisphere spring of 2023 and developed rapidly during summer, is likely to further fuel the heat in 2024 because El Niño typically has the greatest impact on global temperatures after it peaks,” WMO warned on Thursday. Greenhouse gas levels were also at record high in 2022 and continued to increase this year.

“Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high. Antarctic sea ice is record low. It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records. These are more than just statistics. We risk losing the race to save our glaciers and to rein in sea level rise. We cannot return to the climate of the 20th century, but we must act now to limit the risks of an increasingly inhospitable climate in this and the coming centuries,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.

“Record global heating should send shivers down the spines of world leaders. And it should trigger them to act. We have the roadmap to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst of climate chaos. But we need leaders to fire the starting gun at COP28 on a race to keep the 1.5 degree limit alive: By setting clear expectations for the next round of climate action plans and committing to the partnerships and finance to make them possible; by committing to triple renewables and double energy efficiency; and committing to phase out fossil fuels, with a clear time frame aligned to the 1.5-degree limit. We must also go further and faster in protecting people from climate chaos,” said Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General while releasing the provisional statement.

Carbon dioxide levels are 50 % higher than the pre-industrial era, trapping heat in the atmosphere. The long lifetime of CO2 means that temperatures will continue to rise for many years to come, WMO warned. The rate of sea level rise from 2013-2022 is more than twice the rate of the first decade of the satellite record (1993-2002) because of continued ocean warming and melting of glaciers.

The maximum Antarctic sea-ice extent for the year was the lowest on record. Glaciers in North America and Europe once again suffered an extreme melt season. Swiss glaciers have lost about 10% of their remaining volume in the past two years, according to the WMO report.

Extreme weather and climate events had major impacts on all continents. These included major floods, tropical cyclones, extreme heat and drought, and associated wildfires.

The WMO provisional State of the Global Climate report was published to inform negotiations at COP28 in Dubai. It combines input from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, regional climate centres, UN partners and leading climate scientists. The temperature figures are a consolidation of six leading international datasets.

The final State of the Global Climate 2023 report, along with regional reports, will be published in the first half of 2024.

“The latest WMO report serves as a grim harbinger, highlighting the irreversible damage inflicted on our glaciers, sea levels, and the very essence of our global climate system. This warning is one we cannot afford to overlook, as the urgency for action resonates now louder than ever. The world needs immediate and audacious action at the COP28 Climate Conference — a definitive roadmap and timeline for a fair and equitable phase-out of coal, oil and gas,” said Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International.

“It is indisputable that wealthier nations, bearing historical responsibility, must lead the way in decisively shifting from their reliance on fossil fuels to embracing renewable energy sources. Furthermore, they have a crucial role in providing financial support to developing nations, where millions not only face poverty and inadequate access to energy but are also being battered by escalating climate disasters,” he added.

“The climate is changing and will continue to change in the coming years as well. With this, climate change will also enhance. Both the intensity and frequency of extreme events have increased by manifold and much is not likely to change. Global temperatures are rising everywhere, but in India, North India has registered a rapid surge in mercury compared to the southern parts. As the sea surface temperatures soar, sea water tends to expand, causing the sea level to rise. Besides, with the ocean warming, glaciers or sea ice are melting at a faster pace, which is contributing much more to sea level rise than compared with sea water expansion. This poses a potential threat to all the coastal places across the world, including India,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of Meteorology, India Meteorological Department said in a statement.

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