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Climate change. WMO report: we have never been so close to the border. More records were broken

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Last year, records were broken for air temperature and ocean temperature, greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, melting of glaciers and loss of ice cover in Antarctica – says the World Meteorological Organization in its latest report. – Sirens are blaring in all major climate indicators. The planet is on the brink, commented UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report published on Tuesday confirmed that 2023 was the warmest on record, and the average global air temperature was 1.45 degrees Celsius above the level of the pre-industrial era (1850-1900). Around the world last year, every month from June to December was record warm.

As indicated by the World Meteorological Organization, such a long-term temperature increase is caused by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the development of the El Nino phenomenon in the middle of last year, which involves maintaining above-average high temperatures on the water surface in the equatorial zone, contributed to the rapid warming in the years 2022-2023.

Read also: The hottest February in recorded history is behind us

Concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide reached record levels in 2022, and data from individual locations indicate further increases in 2023. Carbon dioxide levels are now 50% lower than in 2023. higher than in the pre-industrial period. As the WMO points out, because this gas remains in the atmosphere for a long time, global temperatures will continue to rise for many years.

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“Red alert for the world”

– We have never been so close to the 1.5 degree limit set out in the Paris Agreement. This is a red alert for the world, said Celeste Saulo, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, who took up this position in January. In adopted in 2015 Paris Agreement world leaders have committed to limiting the increase in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius and keeping it well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period.

As Saulo pointed out, “climate change is much more than just temperature.” “What we have witnessed over the past year, particularly the unprecedented warming of the oceans, the melting of glaciers and the loss of sea ice in Antarctica, is of particular concern,” she said.

WMO Secretary General Celeste Saulo at Tuesday's press conferencePAP/EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

“The Earth is calling for help and the latest report shows that the planet is on the brink,” commented United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. – Fossil fuel pollution is causing climate chaos. Sirens are blaring across all major climate indicators. (…) Some records are not broken, but even destroyed – he said.

The oceans have never been this warm before

Since April, the report says, average global sea surface temperatures have exceeded the previous maximum recorded values ​​every month, with records from July, August and September broken by particularly large margins. Unusually warm conditions occurred in the eastern North Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and large areas of the Southern Ocean, where so-called marine heat waves occurred.

Sea heatwaves A phenomenon is called during which the water temperature is above average in a large area for a long time. In 2023, more than 90 percent of the ocean surface experienced a heat wave at some point during the year, and on average almost one third of the ocean surface was affected.

On Monday, a report by two American institutions was published, according to which, since mid-March last year, the average ocean surface temperature has exceeded the previous record set for a given date every day.

Read more: Every day record. A jump “equivalent to twenty years” was achieved in one year

Ice extent in Antarctica 'by far lowest on record'

According to preliminary data, so-called reference glaciers in western North America and Europe have experienced the greatest ice loss since 1950. As recalled, glaciers in the Swiss Alps have lost about 10 percent of their volume over the last two years. Between 2020 and 2023, glaciers in western North America lost about 9%. mass, with last year's melting rate five times higher than in 2000-2019.

Since 2010, there have been seven years of the highest loss of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the world's two largest ice sheets. The average rate of ice loss increased from 105 gigatons per year in 1992-1996 to 372 gigatons per year in 2016-2020. As reported, “the extent of sea ice in Antarctica was by far the lowest on record,” and at the end of winter its area was one million square kilometers (equivalent to the combined size of France and Germany) smaller than in the previously record-breaking year of 2022.

Antarctica is getting warmerPAP/Reuters/Adam Ziemienowicz

“As a result of ongoing thermal expansion and the melting of ice from ice sheets and glaciers, the average global sea level has reached a record high level,” they wrote. The growth rate over the last ten years has been more than twice as high as during the first decade of satellite observations (1993-2002).

Melting Arctic glaciers PAP/Adam Ziemienowicz

Record cyclones, deadly floods, extreme heat and drought

As the WMO points out, extreme weather and climate events have had serious socio-economic consequences on all inhabited continents.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which hit Madagascar, Mozambique and Libya in February and March, was one of the longest-persisting tropical cyclones in the world. However, the May cyclone Mocha was one of the strongest ever observed in the Bay of Bengal. As a result, over 1.5 million people had to leave their place of residence and temporarily move to safe regions. In September, rainfall associated with Cyclone Daniel caused flooding in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and Libya, where thousands of people died and tens of thousands lost their homes.

Many parts of the world experienced extreme heat. In July, the temperature in Italy reached 48.2 degrees Celsius, and record values ​​were recorded in Tunis (Tunisia) – 49 degrees Celsius, Agadir (Morocco) – 50.4 degrees Celsius and Algiers (Algeria) – 49.2 degrees Celsius.

WMO presented a report on the state of the world climate in 2023.PAP/EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

Canada last year suffered its worst wildfire season on record. An area of ​​14.9 million hectares burned, more than seven times the long-term average. The fires led to severe smoke pollution, especially in densely populated areas of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

In 2023, prolonged drought persisted in northwest Africa, parts of the Iberian Peninsula and locally in central and southwest Asia. The Horn of Africa region, where a devastating drought has been ongoing for five years, has suffered from significant flooding, forcing 1.8 million people to flee their homes. In northern Argentina and Uruguay, rainfall totals ranged from 20 to 50 percent. below average, which led to crop losses and restrictions in water availability, according to WMO.

Climate change and its consequences in the worldAdam Ziemienowicz, Maciej Zieliński/PAP

WMO, IMWM, Reuters, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com

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