Alert, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in its report published on the occasion of the start of the Climate Summit in Bonn (western Germany), concludes that 2017 will be one of the three hottest years on record, similar to 2015 and only below 2016.
Global temperatures in 2017
The global mean temperature for the period from January to September 2017 was 0.47 ° ± 0.08 ° C warmer than the 1981-2010 average (estimated at 14.31 ° C), representing an increase temperature of about 1.1 ° C since the pre-industrial period. Parts of southern Europe, including Italy, North Africa, parts of eastern and southern Africa, and the Asian part of the Russian Federation reached record highs, with temperatures in China equaling the warmest record. The northwestern United States and western Canada had cooler temperatures than the 1981-2010 average.
The draft version of the “Declaration on the State of the World Climate” further highlights the"Numerous episodes of devastating effects”Of this year such as hurricanes and floods, heat waves and droughts, and warns of the rebound of the main indicators of long-term global warming, such as polluting gas emissions or rising sea levels.
2016 is likely to remain the hottest year on record "cAs a consequence of the intense El Niño episode ”followed by 2017 and 2015 in second and / or third place, respectively.The period from 2013 to 2017 will be the warmest five-year period ever recorded. "
In southern South America, especially Argentina, western China and some parts of Southeast Asia, total rainfall was above average. The period from January to September was the wettest ever recorded in the adjacent United States. The rainfall recorded, in general, reached levels close to the average in Brazil and levels between close to the average or higher than it in the northwest of South America and Central America, thanks to which the droughts associated with the episode of El Niño from 2015-16. The rainy season saw above-average rainfall in many parts of the Sahel, with flooding in some regions (especially Niger).
Rainfall recorded across India for the 2017 monsoon season (June to September) was 5% below average. However, above-average rainfall in the Northeast and adjacent countries led to significant flooding.
The grasslands of Canada, the Mediterranean region, Somalia, Mongolia, Gabon, and southwestern South Africa had below-average rainfall. Italy experienced the driest period ever recorded between January and September.
Ice and snow well below historical lows
The extent of sea ice in the Arctic was well below average during 2017 and remained at record low levels for the first four months of the year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the Climate Change Service. of the Copernicus program of the European Union. The annual maximum of the extent of sea ice in the Arctic reached, in early March, one of the five lowest values observed by satellite since 1979, and the lowest value according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. There have been five maximum extension records, all of them after 2005.
The rate of increase in CO2 from 2015 to 2016 was the highest ever recorded, namely 3.3 parts per million / year, bringing the CO2 concentration to 403.3 parts per million. Figures for the 2017 global average will not be available until the end of 2018. Real-time data from various specific locations indicates that levels of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide continued to rise in 2017.
Forest fires on the rise
Extreme heat and drought contributed to multiple destructive wildfires.
Chile saw the largest wildfires in the country's history during the southern hemisphere summer of 2016/2017, after an exceptionally severe drought in 2016, followed by extreme heat at the end of the year, in December, and early 2017, in January.
During that summer of 2016/2017 there were also major fires in various parts of eastern Australia and in Christchurch in New Zealand, while the southern South African city of Knysna was severely affected by the fires in June.
The fire season in the Mediterranean was very intense. The worst incident was the one that occurred in central Portugal in June, which killed 64 people. From January to October 19, an area of the continental United States burned that was 46% larger than the average for the period from 2007 to 2016. The area of the area that burned in Canada was approximately 51% higher than the seasonal average and contributed to heavy smoke pollution.
But what are the risks of global warming?
Mexican Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which hosts the Bonn meeting, assured that these data “highlight the growing risks to people, economies and the very fabric of life on Earth”Of global warming.
Therefore, he urged countries and industries to move towards a"Highest level of ambition”In reducing polluting gas emissions, with the aim of"Reduce the risk of the future" Y"Maximize opportunities" of sustainable development.
The study highlights the intensity of the hurricane season in the North Atlantic and stands out for its violence, its impact, and the short time interval in which Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and María occurred.
A hurricane far north
In addition, he points out that Hurricane Ophelia, which hit Ireland, was registered a thousand kilometers further north than any other and its associated winds contributed to causing large fires in Portugal and Spain.
The WMO considers that, although there is no conclusive evidence of the influence of climate change on hurricanes, it is "likely" that global warming causes"The precipitations are more intense" Y "that the current rise in sea level increases the effects of storm surges“.
The document also includes the heavy rains that caused landslides in South Africa and Colombia, with more than 500 and at least 273 deaths respectively, and the heavy floods that left more than 1,200 fatalities in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and 75 in Peru.
It also underlines that in areas of southern Europe, East Africa and the Asian part of Russia suffered “unprecedented high temperatures ", points where severe droughts have also occurred.
Finally, the text affects the heat waves that have occurred this year in Chile, Argentina, California and Spain, some of which have created the conditions for large forest fires to break out.
You can see the full WMO report here