WMO Finds 2017 to be Among Top Three Hottest Years on Record
Original post by Leila Mead For IISD
The year 2017 is expected to be one of the three hottest years on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provisional Statement on the State of the Climate, which finds that the average global temperature from January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1°C above preindustrial levels.
The statement highlights many high-impact events that occurred in 2017, including hurricanes, floods, heatwaves and droughts, as well as sea-level rise and ocean acidification. It finds that 2016 is likely to remain the warmest year on record, with 2017 and 2015 being second and/or third, and 2013-2017 – the warmest five-year period. The report notes that the three hurricanes that hit the southern US and the Caribbean in September 2017 broke modern records for such weather extremes and associated loss and damage.
The report notes that the three hurricanes that hit the southern US and the Caribbean in September 2017 broke modern records for such weather extremes and associated loss and damage.
The report also looks at: precipitation, with the US experiencing its wettest January-September on record; ice and snow, with Arctic sea ice coverage remaining below average, and Antarctic sea ice extent at or near a record low; ocean heat, with sea surface temperatures expected to be among the three highest on record; and greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, with CO2 concentrations reaching 403.3 parts per million (ppm).
Information used in the report comes from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and associated institutions, as well as the UN and other international agencies. For example, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 23.5 million people were displaced during weather-related disasters in 2016. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), agriculture in developing countries accounted for 26% of all the loss and damage associated with storms, floods and drought. The World Health Organization (WHO) finds that: the risk of heat-related illness or death has increased dramatically since 1980; 30% of the world’s population are now living in areas that experience prolonged extreme heatwaves; and between 2000 and 2016, the number of vulnerable people exposed to heatwave events increased by around 125 million.
The WMO statement was released on 6 November 2017, the opening day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, which continues through 17 November. It includes information on human, socio-economic and environmental impacts, and aims to contribute to a UN-wide policy brief for decision makers on the interlinkages between weather, climate and water, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)