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Wednesday 25 April 2018

'Another year, another record' - 2016 to be hottest year in the history books

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

2016 is expected to be the hottest on record, with average global temperatures now 1.2C warmer than before the industrial revolution.

Preliminary data from the UN’s weather service, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), shows that the planet is warming at an unprecedented level due to climate change and use of fossil fuels.

Between January and September this year, average global temperatures are some 0.88C above the average of 14C recorded between 1961 and 1990.

They are 1.2C warmer than pre-industrial levels, and remain at a “sufficiently high level” for 2016 to remain on track for the title of hottest year on record, the WMO said.

This would mean that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century.

“Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.  “The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue.

“In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6C to 7C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3C above average. We are used to measuring temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so this is different.

“Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen. ‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular.  Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones,” he added.

The data was published at the UN climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, and the final statement will be released early next year.

It comes after the WMO warned last week of a direct link between climate change and extreme weather events, including Storm Desmond which struck last winter.

Of 79 studies published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society between 2011 and 2014, more than half found that human-induced climate change contributed to the extreme event in question.

Some studies found that the probability of extreme heat increased by 10 times or more.

The report comes after the election of Donald Trump as US president elect. Mr Trump has called climate change a hoax, and has vowed to pull the US from the Paris Climate Agreement which aims to shift the global economy away from fossil fuels.

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