Experts warn past decade probably hottest on record

Scientists are predicting that the past decade was likely the hottest on record.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in a report released Tuesday found that average temperatures for the five-year period of 2015 through 2019 and the ten-year period of 2010 through 2019 are “almost certain” to be the hottest ever recorded. 

The year 2019 is also expected to be the second- or third-warmest year on record, the WMO said. The global average temperature between January and October was about 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period.

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The report also said that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere continued to increase in 2019 after reaching a record of 407.8 parts per million in 2018. 

And the WMO noted low sea-ice levels in the Arctic and Antarctic. In September, the Arctic ice extent minimum was the second-lowest on record. 

The group also described humanitarian effects such as 7 million internal displacements between January and June that were caused by hydrometeorological events such as cyclones in Africa and Hurricane Dorian. 

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.  “We are nowhere near on track to meet the Paris Agreement target.”

The report’s release comes amid a United Nations climate change conference in Madrid, whose objectives include raising “overall ambition” for combating climate change “by completing several key aspects with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”

The Trump administration began withdrawing from that Obama-era agreement last month, but is expected to participate in the conference. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is also leading a Democratic delegation at the conference. 

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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