COP28: WMO warns year 2023 set to be warmest year on record


New Delhi: The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Thursday warned that 2023 is set to be the warmest year on record as the Greenhouse gas levels continue to increase.

In the provisional “State of the Global Climate Report” which was released on the first day at COP28 in Dubai, the WMO said that The global temperature is set at around 1.4 Celsius (2.5F), which is above the pre-industrial average.

“Data until the end of October shows that the year was about 1.40 degrees Celsius (with a margin of uncertainty of ±0.12°C )above the pre-industrial 1850-1900 baseline,” it said.

The agency said the ten-year average 2014–2023 (to October) global temperature is 1.19±0.12°C above the 1850–1900 average, the warmest 10-year period on record.

The report said that the “concentrations” of the three main greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide would be the possible region for the global temperature- which reached record high levels in 2022.

In 2022, the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases reached new highs with globally averaged concentrations for carbon dioxide (CO2) at 417.9 ± 0.2 parts per million (ppm), methane (CH4) at 1923 ± 2 parts per billion (ppb) and nitrous oxide (N2O) at 335.8 ± 0.1 ppb, respectively 150%, 266% and 124% of pre-industrial (1750) levels.

The WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas, said the onset earlier this year of El Nino, the weather phenomenon marked by heating in the Pacific Ocean, could tip the average temperature next year over the 1.5-degree (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) target cap set in Paris.

“We are heading towards 2.5 to 3 degrees warming and that would mean that we would see massively more negative impacts of climate change,” Taalas said, pointing to glacier loss and sea level rise over “the coming thousands of years.” The nine years 2015 to 2023 were the warmest on record, WMO said.

On ocean heating, the agency said around 90% of the energy that accumulated in the Earth system since 1971 was stored in the ocean.

Increasing human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases cause a positive radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere, meaning energy is being trapped within the climate system.

The imbalance leads to an accumulation of energy in the Earth’s system in the form of heat that is driving global warming.

The ocean, which covers around 70% of the Earth’s surface, absorbs heat and CO2, which can act to slow the rate of warming in the atmosphere.

However, the heat absorbed by the ocean leads to ocean warming which, together with the melting of ice on land, raises sea levels.

The ocean also absorbs CO2 leading to ocean acidification, sea rising, and warming waters, all have significant effects on the ocean, as well as the plants and animals that live in it and the people who rely upon it for their livelihoods.

“The rate of global mean sea level in rise in the past ten years (2013–2022) is more than twice the rate of sea level rise in the first decade of the satellite record (1993–2002)” the report said.

Antarctica’s sea-ice extent reached an absolute record low for the satellite era (1979 to present) in February. Ice extent was at a record low from June onwards, and the annual maximum in September was far below the previous record low maximum.

Glaciers in western North America and the European Alps experienced an extreme melt season. In Switzerland, glaciers lost around 10% of their remaining volume in the past two years, the report mentioned.

WMO also warned that extreme weather continues to lead to severe “socio-economic” impacts..adding that Food security, population displacements, and impacts on vulnerable populations continue to be of concern in 2023, with weather and climate hazards exacerbating the situation in many parts of the world.

“Extreme weather and climate conditions continued to trigger new, prolonged, and secondary displacement in 2023 and increased the vulnerability of many who were already uprooted by complex multi-causal situations of conflict and violence,” it said.

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a dire warning in Dubai ahead of the UN climate conference, declaring that 2023 is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded.

“We’re in deep trouble,” Guterres said while urging the nations for global action on the climate change crisis. “The State of the Global Climate in 2023 is stark and clear. Things are moving so fast that the full month before the end of the year, we can already declare that 2023 is the hottest year recorded in human history,” he said.


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