The seven years between 2015 and 2021 will likely be the warmest on record to date, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced on Sunday, in a report warning that the weather is entering “uncharted territory.”
This annual report on the state of the climate “is based on the latest scientific data that shows that the planet is changing before our eyes,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres, quoted in the text.
“From the deep ocean to the mountain tops, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events, ecosystems and communities around the world are being destroyed,” he added.
The text, prepared from observations on the ground and through satellites of meteorological services from around the world, is published at the UN climate change conference, COP26.
The Scottish city of Glasgow hosts this key conference, in which the international community steped up its fight to limit global warming and ideally bring it to a maximum of + 1.5ºC.
COP26 “must be a turning point for people and the planet,” said Guterres
The report is based on the historical records of temperatures on the planet, and in particular uses the period 1850-1910 that the UN climate experts (IPCC) use as a basis to compare with today.
Humanity is currently emitting much more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions compared to that time.However, these historical records do not take into account previous meteorological phenomena, which are recorded thanks to climatic paleontology.
The tone of the WMO report is alarming, linking droughts, forest fires, major floods in different regions of the planet with human activity.”2021 is less warm than recent years due to the influence of a moderate La Niña episode that occurred at the beginning of the year.
La Niña has a temporary cooling effect on the global average temperature and affects meteorological and climatic conditions. In 2021, the La Niña seal was clearly observed in the tropical Pacific,”the text recalled.
However, the average temperature of the last 20 years exceeds the symbolic barrier of + 1 ° C for the first time.”Persistent above-average rainfall during the first half of the year in some parts of northern South America, especially in the northern Amazon basin, caused severe and long-lasting flooding in the region,” he added the text.
And at the same time, “for the second year in a row, there were major droughts that devastated much of the subtropical region of South America. Precipitation was well below average in most of southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and the North of Argentina “.Experts acknowledge that they have used a system of “rapid attribution”, that is, the study of extreme natural events quickly after they have happened, to determine to what extent they are the responsibility of human activity.
“The IPCC noted that there has been an increase in heavy rainfall in East Asia, but there is a low level of confidence regarding human influence,” the text acknowledges, for example.