Mar 212017
 
‘Extreme and unusual’ climate trends continue after record 2016 By Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent Image copyrightNOAAImage captionThis map shows the global temperature departures from the long-term average in January this year In the atmosphere, the seas and around the poles, climate change is reaching disturbing new levels across the Earth. That’s according to a detailed global analysis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It says that 2016 was not only the warmest year on record, but it saw atmospheric CO2 rise to a new high, while Arctic sea ice recorded a new winter low. The “extreme and unusual” conditions have continued in 2017, it says. Complete picture Reports earlier this year from major scientific bodies – including the UK’s Met Office, Nasa and NOAA – indicated that 2016 was the warmest year on record. Image captionSome of the key points from the WMO report on the state of the global climate in 2016 The WMO’s State of the Global Climate 2016 report builds on this research with information from 80 national weather services to provide a deeper and more complete picture of the year’s climate data. Compared with the 1961-1990 reference period, 2016 was 0.83 degrees C warmer than the average. It was around 1.1C above the pre-industrial period, and at 0.06C just a fraction warmer than the previous warmest year record in 2015. “This increase in global temperature is consistent with other changes occurring in the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas. “Globally averaged sea-surface temperatures were also the warmest on record, global sea-levels continued to rise, and Arctic sea-ice extent was well below average for most of the year,” he said. Image captionOn the Norwegian island of Svalbard, temperatures were over six degrees warmer than the long-term average Not all the world warmed at equal speed in 2016. In the Arctic, temperatures were about 3 degrees C above the 1961-1990 average. In Svalbard, the Norwegian island high in the Arctic circle, the yearly average was 6.5 degrees above the long-term mark. The report says that temperatures in 2016 were “substantially influenced” by the El Niño weather phenomenon, contributing 0.1 to 0.2 degrees on top of the longer-term warming driven by emissions of CO2. However, El Niño also had an influence on the levels of the gas in the atmosphere. “The CO2 rise in 2016 was the fastest on record – 3.4ppm (parts per million) per year – because the El Niño (more…)