On Monday, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization posted it’s yearly report on the climate: WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2013. The report doesn’t mince words, it clearly says that human-induced climate change is causing higher global temperatures and more extreme weather events.
The climate changes shown on the charts that follow correspond with the rise of fossil fuel consumption – transportation (cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, etc) and electricity/heating/etc.
The modernization of human society began in earnest following World War II. Modern America, having won WWII, used this moment of glory to embark on a pattern of destroying mass transit systems, erasing walk-able lifestyles from America, replacing it with a dependence on the automobile. Additionally, America started living a lifestyle of flagrant energy use in all sectors – for example, the current fad is to support outdoors dining at restaurants with outdoors heaters. It’s the height of flagrancy to unnecessarily heat the outdoors.
In any case, I want to go over some high points in the report. The press release has some interesting things to say as well.
“Naturally occurring phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or El Niño and La Niña events have always contributed to frame our climate, influenced temperatures or caused disasters like droughts and floods. But many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change. We saw heavier precipitation, more intense heat, and more damage from storm surges and coastal flooding as a result of sea level rise – as Typhoon Haiyan so tragically demonstrated in the Philippines,” said WMO Secretary-General, Mr Michel Jarraud.
“There is no standstill in global warming,” said Mr Jarraud. The warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths. More than 90 percent of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans. Levels of these greenhouse gases are at record levels, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”
“Weather forecasting, including of storms and other hazards, has become much more skilful in recent years. As demonstrated in October by Cyclone Phailin, the second strongest tropical cyclone to strike India since modern records began, improved forecasting, combined with government action to build national resilience and provide shelters, greatly reduces the loss of life. We must continue strengthening preparedness and early warning systems and implementing a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk reduction,” he said.
Thirteen of the fourteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century, and each of the last three decades has been warmer than the previous one, culminating with 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record. The average global land and ocean surface temperature in 2013 was 14.5°C (58.1°F) – 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03°C (0.05°F) higher than the 2001–2010 decadal average. Temperatures in many parts of the southern hemisphere were especially warm, with Australia having its hottest year on record and Argentina its second hottest.
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall, devastated parts of the central Philippines
Surface air temperatures over land in the southern hemisphere were very warm, resulting in widespread heatwaves; Australia saw record warmth for the year, Argentina its second warmest year and New Zealand its third warmest
Frigid polar air swept across parts of Europe and the south-eastern United States
Severe drought gripped Angola, Botswana and Namibia
Heavy monsoon rains led to severe floods on the India-Nepal border
Abundant rains and flooding impacted north-eastern China and eastern Russian Federation
Heavy rains and floods affected Sudan and Somalia
Major drought affected southern China
North-eastern Brazil experienced its worst drought in the past 50 years
The widest tornado ever observed hit El Reno, Oklahoma in the United States
Extreme precipitation led to severe floods in the Alps and in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Switzerland
Israel, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic were struck by unprecedented snowfall
An extra-tropical windstorm affected several countries in western and northern Europe
Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reached record highs
The global oceans reached new record high sea levels
The Antarctic sea-ice extent reached a record daily maximum
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