Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

This Is Almost Certainly the Hottest Decade on Record, UN Weather Agency Says

Climate
This map shows the temperature of the land on June 26 in Europe and North Africa. Human induced climate change is causing heatwaves to increase in frequency. Modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019) / ESA / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

We are almost certainly living through the hottest decade on record, according to a provisional report from the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


The WMO's Provisional Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 was released Tuesday on the second day of the COP25 UN climate change conference in Madrid. The report found that the mean temperatures for January through October 2019 were around 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and that 2019 would likely be the second or third warmest year on record, meaning the past five years "are now almost certain" to be the five warmest years on the books.

"It's shocking how much climate change in 2019 has already led to lives lost, poor health, food insecurity and displaced populations," Dr. Joanna House of the University of Bristol told BBC News, in response to the report's release. "Even as a climate scientist who knows the evidence and the projections, I find this deeply upsetting. What is more shocking is how long very little has been done about this. We have the information, the solutions, what we need now is urgent action."

Since the 1980s, every decade has been warmer than the one before, but just reciting average temperature increases doesn't give a true sense of the impact of global warming, University of Manchester atmospheric physics professor Grant Allen told The Guardian.

"This [temperature rise] does not simply mean slightly warmer summers, it means an increased frequency of extreme weather globally – droughts, heatwaves, flooding and changing patterns in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones," Allen said. "These impacts are real and happening now and place huge pressures on communities and countries – put simply, these impacts make for a more unstable world, and are already having profound impacts on our ecosystems and biodiversity."

The report did not limit itself to temperature measurements either. Here are some other notable signs of the climate crisis in 2019:

  1. The amount of heat absorbed by the oceans reached record levels.
  2. Mean seal level rise reached its highest level since high-precision record keeping began in 1993.
  3. Arctic daily sea ice extent was at its second lowest minimum in September, and sea ice extent in Antarctica was the lowest on record for some months
  4. Cyclone Idai was one of the strongest cyclones on record to make landfall in East Africa, displacing 50,905 people in Zimbabwe, 53,237 in southern Malawi and 77,019 in Mozambique.
  5. Seven of the more than 10 million internal displacements recorded between January and October 2019 were due to extreme precipitation or flooding.

The report also listed some impacts from 2018. That year, a record 220 million people over 65 were exposed to heat waves, which are especially dangerous for the elderly. More than 820 million people also suffered from hunger that year. Global hunger had been in decline, but is rising again partly because of extreme weather events and fluctuating temperatures.

Attendees at the COP25 climate conference hoped the release of the report would reinforce the urgency of taking action.

"Now we know that global temperatures are rising to record levels and without action we can expect more climate suffering. It's vital we phase out fossil fuels as fast as possible," Dr. Kat Kramer from Christian Aid told BBC News. "The good news is this is a timely wake-up call at the start of the COP25 climate summit in Madrid. Delegates have no excuse to block progress or drag their feet when the science is showing how urgently action is needed."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a White House Clean Energy Investment Summit on June 16, 2015 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

With presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's climate platform becoming increasingly ambitious thanks to nonstop grassroots pressure, fossil fuel executives and lobbyists are pouring money into the coffers of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in the hopes of keeping an outspoken and dedicated ally of dirty energy in the White House.

Read More Show Less
The Food and Drug Administration is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.
Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.

Read More Show Less
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 1, 2020 in New York City. Byron Smith / Getty Images

While the nation overall struggles with rising COVID cases, New York State is seeing the opposite. After peaking in March and April and implementing strict shutdowns of businesses, the state has seen its number of positive cases steadily decline as it slowly reopens. From coast-to-coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to the crisis has been hailed as an exemplar of how to handle a public health crisis.

Read More Show Less
A whale shark swims in the Egyptian Red Sea. Derek Keats / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Gavin Naylor

Sharks elicit outsized fear, even though the risk of a shark bite is infinitesimally small. As a marine biologist and director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, I oversee the International Shark Attack File – a global record of reported shark bites that has been maintained continuously since 1958.

Read More Show Less
A girl sits under a temporary shade made by joining two bed in Churu, Rajasthan on June 4, 2019. Temperatures in the Indian desert city hit 50 degrees C (122 F) for the second time in three days, sending residents scrambling for shade. MONEY SHARMA / AFP via Getty Images

Current efforts to curb an infectious disease show the potential we have for collective action. That action and more will be needed if we want to stem the coming wave of heat-related deaths that will surpass the number of people who die from all infectious diseases, according to a new study, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
America Pikas are found from the Sierra Nevada to the Rocky Mountains, and have been migrating to higher elevations. Jon LeVasseur / Flickr / Public Domain

By Jenny Morber

Caribbean corals sprout off Texas. Pacific salmon tour the Canadian Arctic. Peruvian lowland birds nest at higher elevations.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Biologists are studying the impact of climate change on the Nenets and their reindeer herds. Deutsche Welle

Biologist Egor Kirillin is on a special mission. Deep in the Siberian wilderness in the Russian Republic of Sakha, he waits on the Olenjok river until reindeer come thundering into the water.

Read More Show Less