A red Alert To The World – ‘Off The Charts’ Climate Records In 2023 Sees Weather Scientists Sound Alarm

The world’s top weather scientists have sent a “red alert” to the planet after every major climate record was broken last year.

In their latest State of Global Climate report, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says temperature, glacial melt, ice sheet formation, sea level rise and CO2 concentrations were all “off the charts”.

It confirms 2023 was the warmest year on record, with average global temperatures hitting 1.45C above pre-industrial levels – the period before fossil fuel use and global warming accelerated.

Already, that calendar year average has been exceeded by the last 12 months in succession when the average exceeded 1.5C.

A warning sign alerts visitors of the extreme heat dangers at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, California. Photo REUTERS-David Becker-File Photo.

The world’s governments pledged in 2015 to prevent temperature rise exceeding 1.5C to slow the pace of warming and climate change.

Antarctic sea ice was at its smallest extent ever last year, missing a chunk the size of France and Germany combined compared to the previous record minimum.

The report also says one-tenth of Switzerland’s iconic glaciers disappeared in the last two years as record temperatures caused massive melting.

The rate of sea level rise in the ten years up to the end of 2023 was more than double that in the ten years from 1993-2002.

Ocean temperatures were also remarkable in 2023, the highest since recording began 65 years ago.

Towards the end of 2023, over 90pc of the ocean had experienced heatwave conditions at some point during the year.

CO2 levels are 50pc higher than the pre-industrial era, trapping heat in the atmosphere that will continue to raise temperatures for decades.

“The WMO community is sounding the Red Alert to the world,” said WMO secretary-general Celeste Saulo.

“What we witnessed in 2023, especially with the unprecedented ocean warmth, glacier retreat and Antarctic sea ice loss, is cause for particular concern.”

El Nino, a cyclical phase of warmer than normal air currents that drives up temperatures, contributed to the surge in broken records.

However, the reports says “some areas of unusual warming such as the Northeast Atlantic do not correspond to typical patterns of warming associated with El Nino”.

Extreme weather and climate events, resulting in deaths and major damage, occurred on every continent.

Extreme rainfall and flooding affected Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and Libya in September.

In February and March, one of the world’s longest-lasting tropical cyclones caused devastation in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.

India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka suffered one of the most intense cyclones ever observed in May.

In October, Mexico was hit with a hurricane that became a Category 5 event in a matter of hours – one of the fastest storm intensifications ever recorded.

Canada had its worst ever wildfire season, losing 15m hectares of land while Hawaii suffered the USA’s deadliest wildfire for more than 100 years, with over 100 fatalities.

Many parts of the Horn of Africa, which suffered five consecutive seasons of drought, had severe flooding.

Europe suffered extremes in different ways, with drought in much of Spain and Portugal; record temperatures in the Mediterranean and heavy rains in the south-east of the continent.

Ireland had its warmest June on record, followed by its wettest July.

(Source – Irish Independent – Environment – Caroline O’Doherty, Environment Correspondent – 19/03/2024)

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