Global Warming 2017: Record Breaking Climate Change Affecting Earth, Says WMO

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Global Warming 2017: Record Breaking Climate Change Affecting Earth, Says WMO

Increase in global warming as a result of human activities, which caused 2016 to be the hottest year ever recorded, besides breaking several other climate-related records has spilled into 2017, transporting the planet's inhabitants into "truly uncharted territory", according to the World Meteorological Organisation's report on climate change in 2016, which was published Tuesday. Multiple climate-related records were broken a year ago, according to the annual climate statement of the UN's weather agency, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The continuing extremes this year come despite the fading of 2016's strong El Niño conditions, a phenomenon in the Pacific which pushes up global temperatures and affects weather patterns.

"This report confirms that the year 2016 was the warmest on record - a remarkable 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial period", WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas was quoted as saying in the WMO press release.

Globally, average sea surface temperatures were also the highest on record previous year; sea levels continued to rise; and Arctic sea ice levels were far below average, it found, warning that greenhouse gas emissions were the main driver behind the warming trend.

David Carlson, the chief of WMO World Climate Research, said ongoing climate changes were already pushing the limits of humanity's understanding of the climate system.

At 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the temperature increase broke the previous milestone set only the year before by 0.06 degrees.

"With levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere consistently breaking new records, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident", said Taalas.

The UN agency said that increasingly powerful computers and the availability of long-term climate data had made it possible to "demonstrate clearly the existence of links between man-made climate change and many cases of high-impact extreme events, in particular heatwaves". This winter, the Arctic saw its equivalent of a heatwave of moist air sweep in three times from the Atlantic.

Changes in the Arctic have influenced weather in other parts of the world, with balmy weather in Canada and the United States and unusually cold conditions in parts of the Arabian peninsula and North Africa. Carbon dioxide emissions reached their highest levels yet.

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