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2018 set to be fourth warmest in 138-yrs of climate record keeping: Report

If the current trend continues we may see temperature increases 3-5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, says report

Press Trust of India  |  Geneva 

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2018 is set to be the fourth warmest on record, according to the (WMO) which found that extreme weather this year due to change left a trail of devastation across the globe, including in India.

The long-term warming trend has continued in 2018, with the past four years being the warmest in 138-years of record keeping.

Other tell-tale signs of change, including sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification and sea-ice and glacier melt continue, whilst extreme weather caused devastation on all continents, according to a WMO statement.

For example, in August, suffered the worst flooding since the 1920s, displacing more than 1.4 million people from their homes and affecting more than 5.4 million.

Major wildfires affected (Greece) on 23 July, with many fatalities. British Columbia in Canada broke its record for the most area burned in a fire season for the second successive year.

California suffered devastating wildfires, with November's being the deadliest fire in over a century for the US.

The WMO report shows that the global average temperature for the first ten months of the year was nearly 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900).

This is based on five independently maintained global temperature data sets.

"We are not on track to meet targets and rein in temperature increases," said WMO Petteri Taalas.

"Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and if the current trend continues we may see temperature increases 3-5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. If we exploit all known fossil fuel resources, the will be considerably higher," he said.

"It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand and the last generation to be able to do something about it," said Taalas.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on of 1.5 degrees Celsius reported that the average global temperature for the decade 2006-2015 was 0.86 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline.

The average increase above the same baseline for the most recent decade 2009-2018 was about 0.93 degrees Celsius and for the past five years, 2014-2018, was 1.04 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline.

"Every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water, to the extinction of animals and plants, to the survival of coral reefs and marine life," said WMO Deputy Elena Manaenkova.

"It makes a difference to economic productivity, food security, and to the resilience of our infrastructure and cities," said Manaenkova.

"It makes a difference to the speed of glacier melt and water supplies, and the future of low-lying islands and coastal communities. Every extra bit matters," said Manaenkova.

The WMO report adds to the authoritative scientific evidence that will inform UN climate change negotiations from December 2-14 in Katowice,

The key objective of the meeting is to adopt the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which aims to hold the global average temperature increase to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.


First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 16:25 IST