The year 2019 was the second warmest year on record after 2016, just as the past five years are the top five warmest and the past ten years also the top ten, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday, expecting much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades.

The latest WMO data show that average temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods were the highest on record. Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, and the trend is expected to continue because of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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The year 2016 remains the warmest year on record, because of the combination of a very strong El Nino event, which has a warming impact, and long-term climate change.

“The average global temperature has risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since the pre-industrial era and ocean heat content is at a record level,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “On the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, we are heading towards a temperature increase of three to five degrees Celsius by the end of century.”

The rising temperatures have been associated with retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather during the past year and decade.

“The year 2020 has started out where 2019 left off — with high-impact weather and climate-related events,” Taalas said, citing 2019 as the hottest, driest year on record in Australia, which has set the scene for the current massive bushfires there.

“Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fueled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Taalas warned.

Source: Xinhua – GENEVA

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