Ground Report | New Delhi: 2021 one of the warmest years; Taking advantage of the beginning of the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has launched the interim report on the state of the climate 2021, a document in which it is concluded that the planet has entered “unknown territory, with far-reaching repercussions for current and future generations ”.
2021 one of the warmest years
“If the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations is maintained, the increase in temperature at the end of this century will far exceed the goals established in the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. or 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels ”, highlighted the WMO.
In summary, the report provides a synthesis of some climatic indicators, for example, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, extreme weather events, sea level, ocean acidification, and its calorific content, the retreat of glaciers and melting ice masses, as well as associated socio-economic impacts.
With this publication, we want to create a “flagship” to guide the negotiations during COP26, which aspires to be a “turning point” in which humanity acts with ambition and solidarity to protect its future and that of the planet.
“Scientists are clear about the facts. Now leaders must be just as clear in their actions. The door is open ”, insisted Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN).
The full report will be presented at the start of COP26 in the Science Pavilion hosted by WMO, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the UK Met Office. In addition to the report, WMO will use the space to show the world the Coalition for Water and Climate, which will coordinate action in the fields of water and climate.
A world in transformation
In the interim report, WMO noted that the global average temperature in 2021 was about 1.09 ° C above the 1850-1900 average, making it the fifth or seventh warmest year since that there are records.
The WMO explains that a La Niña episode that occurred at the beginning of the year temporarily cooled the average temperature of the planet and that when it disappeared, the temperatures gradually increased. “In 2021, the La Niña stamp was clearly seen in the tropical Pacific. The last major episode of La Niña was recorded in 2011 ”, clarified the WMO.
In terms of rainfall, the WMO showed a world of contrasts, with heavy occasional rains in Asia, Europe, and South America that produced significant floods. At the same time, the drought made an appearance in the second half of 2021 in South America causing agricultural losses. Also, the 20 months between January 2020 and August 2021 were the driest on record in the southwestern United States (more than 10% less than the previous record level) while parts of Africa, such as Madagascar, drag droughts that are leading to food crises. (2021 one of the warmest years)
Of the oceans, the WMO noted that all these water bodies at some point this year suffered at least one “strong” marine heatwave, with the exception of the eastern part of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (due to La Niña) and the greater part of the Southern Ocean. In the Laptev Sea and the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, “severe” and “extreme” marine heatwaves were recorded between January and April 2021.
“About 90% of the accumulated heat in the Earth system is stored in the ocean and is measured through the calorific content of the oceans,” reported the WMO.
Likewise, he commented that they absorb around 23% of the annual anthropogenic emissions of CO 2 in the atmosphere, which is why the acidity of the oceans is increasing. In this sense, the pH of the open ocean surface has decreased on a global scale during the last 40 years and is currently the lowest it has been in at least 26,000 years.
He also spoke of sea level, which said to grow 4.4 mm per year between 2013 and 2021, that is, it doubled in relation to measurements between 1993 and 2002. As they explained, this phenomenon was due, above all, to the acceleration of the loss of ice mass from glaciers and ice sheets, which in 2021 were at a minimum.
Regarding extreme phenomena, the WMO recalled the episode of extreme temperatures experienced in western North America and Canada, where temperatures above 45 ° C were recorded in regions where they barely exceed 20 ° C. He also highlighted the heatwave that raised the temperatures of Death Valley to 54.4 ° C, one of the highest since 1930.
Similar events were also experienced in Europe accompanied by sixth-generation fires that devastated thousands of hectares of Turkey and Greece. “Many of these episodes had subsequent attribution reports indicating that they could not have been possible without the influence of climate change,” the WMO reported.
Impact on society
According to the WMO, in the last 10 years, the frequency and intensity of conflicts, extreme weather events, and economic crises have increased. The combined effects of these hazards, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to increased hunger and consequently undermined decades of progress towards improving food security.
The extreme weather events that occurred during the La Niña episode in 2020/2021 altered the rainy seasons, contributing to disruptions in livelihoods and agricultural seasons around the world. In addition, extreme weather events during the 2021 rainy season have exacerbated current crises. (2021 one of the warmest years)
Consecutive droughts in large areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have coincided with severe storms, cyclones, and hurricanes, significantly affecting livelihoods and the ability to recover from recurring weather shocks.
“Throughout the year, extreme weather events and conditions, often exacerbated by climate change, have had significant impacts that are also seen in migration. Extreme events are the new normal and the solutions are there. COP26 must be our opportunity ”, concluded the WMO.