The second-hottest temperatures on record occurred in 2019, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, or WMO, a specialised agency of the United Nations. The warmest year ever recorded was 2016, and 2010 to 2019 has also been declared the hottest decade since temperature record-keeping was started in 1850. And while being at the top of the list for best online casino is a good thing, leading the group of hottest-ever temperatures is not.
Extreme Weather to Continue
The average global temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius since modern record keeping of its levels began, and the trend is expected to continue. As WMO Secretary-General Petteri Talaas puts it, 2020 has started out right where 2019 finished off. He said that the WMO anticipates a lot of extreme weather events in the next 12 months, and in the decades to come.
Petteri also blamed record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap heat and are the highest they’ve been in 3 million years, for the massive climate upheavals. He pointed to the recent Australian bushfires that have ravages so much of the country as a concrete example of a disaster due to extreme weather. The fires are estimated to have killed up to a billion animals, and to have displaced tens of thousands of people.
Oceans Are Especially Troubling
Ocean heat content is considered to be a good measure of global warming, since 90% of the atmosphere’s excess hear is stored there. The WMO’s records of the past 5 years of ocean temperatures are the hottest to date, and the effects have been clear. Marine life and ecosystems have been devastated, with widespread coral bleaching and mass die-offs of various fish populations.
With warmer sea surfaces, cyclones in the Indian Ocean also hit never-before-seen numbers in 2019. The Arabian Sea, for instance, usually only experiences 1 cyclone per season – but in 2019 it was hit by 5. Of these, 2 could be classified as very severe cyclonic storms, 1 as an extremely severe cyclonic storm, and 1 as a super cyclonic storm, according to India’s Meteorological Department.
Warmer waters in the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean are also causing havoc. Temperature rises in this region are typically caused by the El Niño Southern Oscillation, a natural phenomenon, and result in global wind pattern disruptions.
Climate conditions in subtropical India, extratropical North America and Africa are affected, and experience extreme weather events such as droughts, monsoons and floods. Now waters are warm for longer periods than the usual El Niño season, and more extreme events are occurring.
Climate Change’s Widespread Impact
The impact of these general conditions and specific events of extreme weather, on human beings and the entire planet’s flora and fauna, is being seen and felt all around us. However, outside of the immediate physical effect, there are plenty of ramifications. We’re only just starting to understand the economic, political and social fallout that we’ll have to deal with in the next few years.
The Gross Domestic Product of most countries is expected to be hit pretty hard, and taxes on carbon emissions and airplane flights might widen the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. Food and water shortages could lead to war, and a whole new onslaught of refugees seeking more favourable conditions. The list goes on.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Much of the world is dependent on non-renewable energy sources right now, and together with current agricultural practices those will just continue to add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Scientists say we have just 10 years left to halt climate change and keep the relatively comfortable living conditions here on planet earth.
The United Nations has stated that we need to reduce our carbon emissions by 7.6% a year until 2030, not to prevent further temperature rises but to limit them to a 1,5-degree Celsius increase. Many nations signed on to do just that, with the Paris Agreement of 2016. Of course, since then President Trump has made it clear that he wishes to withdraw the United States from the agreement and several US policies contrary to the agreement terms are already in place. As more people become aware of this dire situation, they’re asking what humanity is going to do. The answer seems to lie in changing not only our individual behaviour, but also the way our countries are run and the polices we have in place. We have the knowledge, but we need to chase a more environmentally friendly tomorrow rather than the last drops of oil.