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2015 Likely Warmest on Record, 2011-2015 Warmest Five Year Period: WMO

Posted by feww on November 25, 2015

Extreme Weather Triggered as Climate Change Breaches Symbolic Thresholds

2015 is on track to be the warmest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The global average surface temperature in 2015 would likely reach “the symbolic and significant milestone” of 1°C above the pre-industrial era, said WMO.

Also, the last five years (2011-2015) have been the warmest five-year period on record, with many extreme weather events – especially heatwaves – influenced by climate change, according to a WMO five-year analysis.

Bad News for the Planet

The state of the global climate in 2015 will make history as for a number of reasons,” said WMO Secretary-General. “Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached new highs and in the Northern hemisphere spring 2015 the three-month global average concentration of CO2 crossed the 400 parts per million barrier for the first time. 2015 is likely to be the hottest year on record, with ocean surface temperatures at the highest level since measurements began.  It is probable that the 1°C Celsius threshold will be crossed,” he said. “This is all bad news for the planet.”

Based on data from January to October, the global average surface temperature for 2015 so far was about 0.73 °C above the 1961-1990 average of 14.0°C and approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial 1880-1899 period, said WMO.

Ocean heat and sea level rise

The oceans have been absorbing more than 90% of the energy that has accumulated in the climate system from human emissions of greenhouse gases, resulting in higher temperatures and sea levels. In the first nine months of 2015, global ocean heat content through both the upper 700 meters and 2000 meters of the oceans reached record high levels. The latest estimates of global sea level indicate that the global average sea level in the first half of 2015 was the highest since satellite observations became available in 1993.

Significant warmth was recorded across large areas of the oceans. The Tropical Pacific was much warmer than average, exceeding 1°C over much of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. The northeast Pacific, much of the Indian Ocean and areas in the north and south Atlantic were significantly warmer than average. Areas to the south of Greenland and in the far southwest Atlantic were significantly colder than average.

Ocean heat content down to a depth of 700m (top) and 2000m (bottom). Three-month (red), annual (black) and 5-year (blue) averages are shown. Source: NOAA/NCEI

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