Figures show 2016 set to be the hottest year on record

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 14 November 2016 in News

Figures from the World Meteorological Organisation mean 16 of the 17 warmest years will have been recorded this century

Antarctica - credit: PA

New data suggest 2016 will be the hottest year on record, with global temperatures now close to the critical 1.5C limit identified at the Paris climate change talks.

The figures from the World Meteorological Organisation mean that 16 of the 17 warmest years will have been recorded this century.

The data was released as states meet in Marrakesh to discuss the next steps in progressing the global climate change deal agreed in Paris last year.


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The Paris agreement aims to keep global temperature rises below 2C from pre-industrial times, with states aiming to limit the rise to a maximum 1.5C.

But the analysis shows average temperatures in 2016 have risen to 1.2C above pre-industrial revolution levels.

Researchers have warned that higher temperatures, bringing more extreme weather events, are likely to mean the effects of climate change being more powerful than previously expected.

WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, said: “Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016. The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue.”

“In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6°C to 7°C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average. We are used to measuring temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so this is different.”

“Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen. ‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular.  Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones.

“The Paris Agreement came into force in record time and with record global commitment. The World Meteorological Organization will support the translation of the Paris Agreement into action.”

The WMO warned that long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking, with concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continuing to increase to new records. 

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