Wednesday 25 April 2018

This year likely to be one of the warmest ever recorded

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THIS year is likely to be one of the three warmest on record, with average global temperatures now 1C higher than those recorded at the turn of the 20th century.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that the world also continues to see rising sea levels, and increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as climate change takes hold. The report comes as the UN climate negotiations in Bonn continue today.

The ‘State of the Global Climate’ report for 2017 says that while this year has been a cooler year than the record-setting 2016, it is very likely to be one of the three warmest years on record, and the warmest not influenced by an El Niño event.

The five-year average 2013-2017 global average temperature is currently close to 1C above the average for 1880-1900, and is likely to be the highest five-year average on record, it warns.

The extent of sea ice in the Arctic continues to shrink, and Antarctic sea ice extent “started shrinking since last year after a multi-year period of stable or even slight expansion”.

It also says the overall risk of heat-related illness or death has climbed steadily since 1980, with around 30pc of the world’s population now living in climatic conditions with extreme hot temperatures persisting several days a year.

This will impact on economic growth.

“Between 2000 and 2016, the number of vulnerable people exposed to heatwave events has increased by approximately 125 million,” it adds. “According to the international Monetary Fund (IMF), for the median low-income developing country, with annual average temperature conditions around 25C, a 1C increase in temperature could lower per capita economic output by about 1.2pc.”

Among the “significant weather and climate events” this year include a “very active” North Atlantic hurricane season, which brought Ophelia to our shores, causing devastation and the loss of three lives.

There were major monsoon floods in the Indian subcontinent, and severe drought in parts of east Africa.

The WMO also says our changing climate is resulting in “massive internal displacement”.

From November 2016 to mid-June 2017, nearly 761,000 drought-related internal displacements were recorded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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