Global impacts of climate change accelerating, says World Meteorological Organisation.
New York/Kochi: The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in its State of the Climate report says the physical and financial impacts of global warming are accelerating. The report cited the Kerala floods of 2018 as an example of climate change. The State is now going through one of the driest summers within a year of the floods with temperatures crossing 40 degrees C in many places. Four people have died and over 300 had sunburns in the last two weeks alone.
Record greenhouse gas levels are driving temperatures to “increasingly dangerous levels”, it says in its 25th annual record of the climate.
Their report comes in the same week as the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported a surge in CO2 in 2018.
While some of these figures were published in a preliminary release of the study from last November, the full version has data on many key climate indicators, that the WMO says break new ground.
One example is ocean heat content. More than 90% of the energy trapped by greenhouse gases goes into the seas and according to the WMO, 2018 saw new records set for the amount of ocean heat content found in the upper 700 metres of the seas, and also for the upper 2,000 metres.
According to the report, most of the natural hazards that affected nearly 62 million people in 2018 were associated with extreme weather and climate events. Examples were abundant:
Kerala in India suffered the heaviest rainfall and worst flooding in nearly a centuryAbout 35 million people were hit by floods worldwide.Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael were just two of 14 “billion dollar disasters” in 2018 in the US.Super Typhoon Mangkhut affected 2.4 million people in and killed 134, mainly in the Philippines.More than 1,600 deaths were linked to heat waves and wildfires in Europe, Japan and US.The head of the WMO say that the signals of warming continue to be seen in events since the turn of the year.
“Extreme weather has continued in the early 2019, most recently with Tropical Cyclone Idai, which caused devastating floods and tragic loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It may turn out to be one of the deadliest weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere,” said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas.
The report was released at a news conference in New York attended by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.