The decade 2010-2020 is probably the warmest decade in history, and certainly has been since the temperatures were recorded.
This was revealed by a report by the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations (WMO) which specifies how climate change is progressing faster than human ability to adapt to it. The study, presented on the second day of the Cop25 in Madrid, notes that the global temperatures of 2019 were 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, electing the year that is about to close as “the second or the third” among the hottest ever recorded.From 1980 onward, every decade has been warmer than the previous one, while the absolute year that hit the record is 2016, including the last ten years.
However, WMO climatologists use the conditional to define the decade they want to close as the hottest ever, but say they are “almost certain“. In fact, only the data of the last month are missing for the final budget for 2019 – and therefore for the decade – to be certain of it. But if the numbers are connected to the concrete effects, from the rising of the seas to the melting of the glaciers to increasingly extreme climatic events, it is not hard to realize that we are experiencing one of the peaks of the climate crisis. The “exceptional” heat wave is due to CO 2 emissions. Experts explain that they are linked to fossil fuels, freight transport, crops and infrastructure construction. Driving cars, cutting down forests and burning coal to produce energy are obviously part of these activities.
2019 concludes a decade of exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels. Average temps for 10-year (2010-2019) period set to be highest on record. 2019 is on course to be 2nd or 3rd warmest year on record. #StateofClimate #COP25 #ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/GBlspx03He
— WMO | OMM (@WMO) 3 December 2019
“Heat waves and floods that used to occur once every century now happen regularly,” stressed the organization’s general secretary, Petteri Taalas during the speech at the COP25, launching a real alarm. With a heating of 1.1 degrees Celsius we are approaching the threshold of 1.5 , a limit according to scientists beyond which we will have extreme weather conditions and the loss of vital ecosystems. Obviously with repercussions on human health, food security and migration.
A record year
Regarding 2019, the report reveals some data to say the least worrying. If the Wmo had already announced a few weeks ago that 2018 had reached a Co2 record with 407.8 parts per million (Ppm), now it is specified that they have continued to increase in 2019, despite the official data coming in 2020. “The minimum daily extension of Arctic sea ice in September 2019 was the second lowest recorded by the satellite” – reads – “and October saw further negative records. In Antarctica, 2019 has seen in a few months real and few peaks of lack of ice “. The dissolution caused the rising of the seas as the first consequence, “accelerated from the beginning of satellite measurements in 1993” it is read.
But the oceans are paying a very high price also for another reason: absorbing heat and carbon dioxide they undergo an acidification process putting at risk marine vital ecosystems. “So far in 2019 the ocean has had at least a month and a half of warmer temperatures than the norm,” the report states, pointing out that the Pacific region is the most distressed area.
From the point of view of the absorption of Co2, on the other hand, in the period 2009-2018 approximately 22 percent of the emissions were absorbed by the oceans , thus helping to mitigate climate change by paying the very high price of their ecosystems.
But what is most striking is certainly the high concentration of extreme weather events that have occurred in the last ten years, and especially in 2019. In recent months some parts of the world – South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania – have had higher temperatures normal while other areas, like North America, have been colder than usual. For example, think of the heat waves of last June and July in Europe, with a national record in France of 46 degrees Celsius on June 28th . Similar numbers also in Germany (42.6 ° C), in Holland (40.7 ° C), in Belgium (41.8 ° C), in Luxembourg (40.8 ° C) and in the United Kingdom (38.7 ° C). As for fires, on the other hand, in South America there was a peak as was not seen since 2010.