Growing link between extreme weather and climate change

The last five years have been the hottest on record as a direct result of global warming. That’s according to new analysis from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which states both sea and land temperatures are […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The last five years have been the hottest on record as a direct result of global warming.

That’s according to new analysis from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which states both sea and land temperatures are rising steadily each year.

The hottest year on record was 2015, with an average temperature of 0.76 °C (1.37 °F) above the historic average. The second hottest year on record was 2014, suggesting the change is still on an upward trajectory.

As temperatures peaked in 2015, the WMO saw Carbon Dioxide concentrations do the same, reaching the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere.

The climate change indicators of rising sea levels and melting ice caps were also observed to worsen over the period.

By conducting the report over a five year period – 2011 to 2015 – the study allowed for better observation of prolonged droughts and recurrent heatwaves than an annual report the WMO states.

The most destructive events cause by global warming was the East African drought from 2010 to 2012, which caused an estimated 258,000 deaths. In financial terms, 2012’s Hurricane Sandy did the worst damage, costing the economy $67 billion (£53.7bn).

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said: “The effects of climate change have been consistently visible on the global scale since the 1980s: rising global temperature, both over land and in the ocean, in the sea-level rise and the widespread melting of ice. It has increased the risks of extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, record rainfall and damaging floods.”