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…)
Dec 202013
From          6 November 2013 Last updated at 05:07 ET Origfinal Article: Concentrations of warming gases break recordBy Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent, BBC News The levels of gases in the atmosphere that drive global warming increased to a record high in 2012. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), atmospheric CO2 grew more rapidly last year than its average rise over the past decade. Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also broke previous records Thanks to carbon dioxide and these other gases, the WMO says the warming effect on our climate has increased by almost a third since 1990. The WMO’s annual greenhouse gas bulletin measures concentrations in the atmosphere, not emissions on the ground. Carbon dioxide is the most important of the gases that they track, but only about half of the CO2 that’s emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by the plants, trees, the land and the oceans. Upsetting the balance Since 1750, global average levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased to 141% of the pre-industrial concentration of 278 parts per million (ppm). According to the WMO there were 393.1ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2012, an increase of 2.2ppm over 2011. This was above the yearly average of 2.02ppm over the past decade. “The observations highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “It is a worry. The more we delay action the bigger the risk we cannot stay under the 2 degree Celsius limit that countries have agreed,” he said. While the daily measurement of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded the symbolic 400ppm mark in May this year, according to the WMO the global annual average CO2 concentration will cross this point in 2015 or 2016. Levels of methane also reached record highs in 2012 of 1,819 parts per billion. Concentrations have been increasing since 2007 after a period when they appeared to be levelling off. The WMO report says that it is not yet possible to attribute the methane increase to either human activities like cattle breeding and landfills or natural sources such as wetlands. They believe that the rising emissions come from the tropical and mid-latitude northern hemisphere and not from the Arctic, where methane from the melting of permafrost and hydrates (more…)