This year is on track to be one of the hottest ever
Whenever there’s a release of data regarding global warming, I often wonder if there’s a tipping point in all of this. Are there points-of-no-return looming in the near future with respect to one aspect of climate change or another?
That question applies to the matters raised in THIS NEW REPORT:
This year is on track to be one of the hottest since record keeping began, according to a report released Wednesday by the World Meteorological Association (WMO). The report also found that global sea levels reached a record high in March 2013 and extreme weather events continued to devastate communities around the world.
Rising sea levels are already wreaking havoc on coastal communities, making them a target for increased storm surges and coastal flooding. The most recent example of this trend is the tragic toll of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, possibly the most powerful storm ever recorded.
“Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges. We saw this with tragic consequences in the Philippines,” Michel Jarraud, head of the WMO, told Agence France-Presse.
Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Jeff Masters with Weather Underground echoed that sentiment in an interview with PBS on Wednesday. While the lack of records for typhoons make it difficult to detect patterns in previous storms, future predictions for climate change are clear: “As you warm up the oceans, you will tend to make the strongest storms stronger,” Masters said.
Trenberth noted that in the Philippines, sea levels have risen by nearly four times the global rate and “sea temperatures are higher by over a degree Fahrenheit or so on a global basis because of global warming, because of human influences.” These factors combine with warmer, moister air to fuel major storms like Haiyan. “The environment that all of these storms are occurring in is simply different than it used to be because of human activities,” Trenberth said.
The WMO report found that the first nine months of 2013 tied with 2003 as the seventh warmest such period since modern data collection began in 1850. Other extremes this year have included record heatwaves in Australia, floods from Sudan to Europe, and Japan’s warmest summer on record, the WMO said.