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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

UN Says 2017 Might Be Among the Warmest Years on Record

BERLIN – This year is on its way to become one among the three warmest years – at par with 2015 and just behind 2016 – recorded until now, according to a report released on Monday by the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations.

The report says some of the effects of climate change this year includes devastating hurricanes, floods, heat waves and droughts, and warns of a spike in long-term indicators of global warming, such as emission of polluting gases and rise in sea levels.

“As a result of a powerful El Niño, 2016 is likely to remain the warmest year on record, with 2017 and 2015 being second and/or third. 2013-2017 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record,” said the report, which was released on the opening day of the UN climate change conference in Bonn, western Germany.

Between January and September 2017, the average global temperature was 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, the WMM statement said.

Scientists have predicted catastrophic consequences of a rise of more than 2 degrees.

“We have witnessed extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Climate Change – which is hosting the Bonn conference – warned of growing risks to people – and economies and urged countries and businesses to adopt higher emission-cut goals.

The study also highlighted the intensity of cyclones in the North Atlantic, underlining the devastation and impact of the three hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – that struck this year in quick succession.

The study also said that the hurricane Ophelia, which hit Ireland, reached more than 1,000 kilometers further northeast than any previous hurricane and its winds contributed to severe wildfires in Portugal and Spain.

The WMO said that although there is no conclusive evidence about climate change influencing hurricanes, it was possible global warming related intense rains and a rise in sea-levels might have aggravated storm surge impacts.

 

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