2015 Hottest Year Ever Recorded ... Until 2016, UN Weather Agency Reports
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced today that 2015 is likely to top the charts as the hottest year in modern observations, with 2011-15 the hottest five-year period on record.
With two full months still to add in, the global average surface temperature for January to October in 2015 was 0.73C above the 1961-1990 average. This already puts it a long way above 2014, in which average global temperature reached 0.57C above the 1961-1990 average.
2015 set to be hottest year on record: UN, by @nina_larson https://t.co/UtcKfwfsBn https://t.co/HBU4ECvon8— AFP news agency (@AFP news agency)1448451963.0
This year’s record is down to a combination of rising greenhouse gases and a boost from the strong El Niño underway in the Pacific, says the WMO.
To put today’s news another way, global temperature in 2015 is likely to pass the “symbolic and significant” threshold of 1C above preindustrial levels, says the WMO.
This follows the recent announcement from the Met Office that temperature in the HadCrut4 dataset—one of three global datasets the WMO uses—is expected to pass the 1C mark in 2015. Dr. Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading said today:
"Roughly 1.0 degrees Celsius of this warming or around 95 percent, is due to human activity. Natural cycles in the climate system, including El Nino, solar activity and natural variations in weather, are likely to be responsible for the remainder of the warming."
Earlier this month, the WMO said greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had reached a new high, with spring concentrations in the northern hemisphere exceeding 400 ppm.
Global ocean heat content in the top 700 meters and 2,000 meters reached record high levels in the first nine months of 2015, says the WMO. Global average sea level in the first half of the year was the highest since the start of the satellite record in 1993.
Most places on land, but not all, experienced warmer than average temperatures between January to October in 2015. But Hawkins doesn’t expect a record for Britain in 2015:
"While 2015 will not break 2014’s record as the hottest year in the UK, we know that over longer timescales Britain is warming up 20 percent faster than the global average. Land areas warm faster than the oceans, which means that many regions on land worldwide and where most people live, passed the one-degree threshold years ago and are continuing to heat up faster than the global average."
The high temperatures in 2015 fueled many extreme weather events, today’s report notes. Heatwaves affected Europe, North Africa and the Middle East in the spring and summer of 2015 and many places experienced unusual rainfall patterns. The WMO’s secretary-general Michel Jarraud said in a press release today:
"The state of the global climate in 2015 will make history as for a number of reasons … 2015 is likely to be the hottest on record, with ocean surface temperatures at the highest level since measurements began. It is probable that the 1C Celsius threshold will be crossed … This is all bad news for the planet."
The WMO compiled a five-year average to give more context on the state of the climate than a single year. Today’s report notes that the five-year period between 2011-2015 was the hottest on record, averaging 0.57C above the 1961-1990 baseline. And with El Niño normally peaking over the new year period, the full effect on global temperature is likely to continue into 2016, says the WMO.
Outside Margin of Error
Last year, the difference between 2014 and 2013 global temperature was less than the degree of certainty with which scientists can make measurements like this, which is to within about 0.1C. That led the WMO to describe 2014 as “nominally” the warmest year on record, with the caveat that it couldn’t be absolutely certain which of the very hot recent years was the hottest.
This year, the picture is much clearer. The difference between the best estimate for this year and last year is 0.16C, considerably greater than the 0.1C margin of error.
While this escapes some of last year’s communication challenges around confirming which was the warmest year, it’s still more instructive to look at the long term picture, says Professor Tim Osborne from the University of East Anglia. He tells Carbon Brief:
"Of course, individual yearly records are of interest for a range of reasons, but not really of interest for demonstrating the long-term warming. Every year for a century could be 0.05 C warmer than the preceding one. With uncertainty of +/-0.10 degC, then none would be outside the confidence interval of the preceding one, yet after 100 years we’d have 5C of warming."
The Paris summit beginning next week will round off an exceptional year, says David Reay, professor of Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh. He says:
"Climate records have been broken with such frequency in recent years that it is easy to overlook what a significant year 2015 has been. The history books will tell its tale of threshold-busting carbon dioxide levels and extreme temperatures. Whether the final chapter for 2015 will include a more positive footnote is now all down to Paris."
And ahead of doors opening in Paris on Monday, Jarraud had a clear message for negotiators:
"Greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing climate change, can be controlled. We have the knowledge and the tools to act. We have a choice. Future generations will not."
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
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While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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