Daily US Times: On Wednesday, a new report was released detailing how 2019 was another year of extremes for Earth’s climate. The report added to a litany of evidence exposing the grim reality of our warming world. Climate change is getting worse, as the study has found.
Last year saw devastating wildfires burn through Australia; large regions including Europe, Pakistan, India, and Japan experienced deadly heat waves; glaciers and sea ice continued to melt at worrying levels; almost 100 tropical cyclones created havoc, and drought and floods destroyed vital crops and infrastructure.
The State of the Climate in 2019 was published by the American Meteorological Society. Among the key findings of the report was that 2019 was among the warmest years on record, that greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are at their highest recorded levels and this decade is the hottest since records began in the mid-1800s.
The report exposed the severity of climate change, saying: “Each decade since 1980 has been successively warmer than the preceding decade, with the most recent (2010-1019) being around 0.2°C warmer than the previous (2000-2009)”.
“As a primary driver for our changing climate, the abundance of many long-lived greenhouse gases continues to increase.”
The study also reported other key findings:
- The six warmest years on record have all recorded in the past six years, since 2014.
- Last year (2019) was among the three hottest years since records began in the mid-1800s. Only 2016, and for some datasets 2015, were warmer than 2019.
- Average sea surface temperatures in 2019 was the second highest on record, surpassed only by 2016.
- Sea levels rose to a new record high for the eighth consecutive year.
- Surface air temperatures for the Arctic were the second highest in 120 years of records, trailing only 2016. In the Antarctic, 2019 was the second warmest year for the continent since 1979.
- Glaciers continue to melt at a concerning rate for the 32nd straight year.
The researchers found that the warming influence of the major greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere — including methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide (CO2) — was 45% higher than in 1990. The burning of fossil fuels in our airplanes, cars and factories releases heat-trapping pollution into the air, warming up our planet.
The study found that the global carbon dioxide concentrations, which represent the bulk of the gases’ warming power, rose during 2010 to a record 409.8 parts per million. It said, that was the “highest in the modern 61-year measurement record as well as the highest ever measured in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years”.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Centers for Environmental Information has led the report and was made based on contributions from more than 520 scientists from 60 countries. The report is often described by meteorologists as the “annual physical of the climate system.”
One of the report’s lead editors Robert Dunn said in a statement that, “The view for 2019 is that climate indicators and observations show that the global climate is continuing to change rapidly.”
Mr Dunn said: “A number of extreme events, such as wildfires, heatwaves and droughts, have at least part of their root linked to the rise in global temperature. And of course the rise in global temperature is linked to another climate indicator: the ongoing rise in emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon-dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.”
Record heat, rising seas
According to the report, July of 2019 was Earth’s hottest month on record.
More than a dozen countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean reported record high annual temperatures last year. It was so warm that the Netherlands and Belgium saw 40°C (104°F) temperatures for the time.
Deadly and intense heat waves last year worsened drought conditions in Australia that led to months of destructive wildfires, exacerbated India’s water crisis — which saw entire cities running out of water and scorched Europe’s cities — which are not designed to deal with such temperatures.
After months of record temperatures, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice, that uis equivalent of around 80 million Olympic swimming pools in July 2019 alone, the report found.
Scientists have repeatedly warned that the impacts of the climate crisis to our economies and health systems. It will be much more severe if left unchecked.
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