2016 on track to be hottest year on record
Published 21/07/2016 | 19:36
The first six months of this year have continued to shatter global heat records, putting 2016 on track to be the Earth's hottest year on record, the World Meteorological Organisation said.
The United Nations-linked body said in a report that June 2016 was the 14th consecutive month of record heat around the planet and the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average.
The organisation said that global warming-causing carbon dioxide concentrations so far this year have surpassed the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere.
"Another month, another record. And another. And another. Decades-long trends of climate change are reaching new climaxes, fuelled by the strong 2015/2016 El Nino," World Meteorological Organisation secretary-general Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
"This underlines more starkly than ever the need to approve and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change."
The report found that heat has resulted in very early onset of seasonal melting of major ice sheets, with Arctic Sea ice now covering about 40% less area during the summer melt season than it did in the 1970s.
The heat conditions played havoc with weather conditions, with many regions including the United States experiencing drier than normal conditions, while China, central Europe and much of Australia experienced wetter than usual weather.
The increased heat also resulted in widespread bleaching of coral reefs around the world, threatening marine ecosystems, the report said.
According to Nasa figures cited in the report, the first half of 2016 was on average 2.4F (1.3 C) warmer than in the late 19th century, prior to industrialisation.
Segolene Royal, who headed the global climate negotiations, said she wants nations to ratify the Paris climate agreement by the time parties to the global climate talks meet again in Morocco in early November.
The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries have ratified it but so far only 19 have done so.