2015 Will Be the Hottest Year, According to WMO Report

2015 will be the hottest year, 2016 could be hotter still due to the El Niño weather pattern.

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Representational image. (Photo: iStockphoto)

This year will be the hottest on record and 2016 could be hotter due to the El Niño weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday, warning that inaction on climate change could see temperatures rise by 6 degrees Celsius or more.

But decisions taken at a summit of world leaders in Paris starting on Monday could keep global temperature upsurges within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times, a target set down in 2010 to try to prevent dangerous climate change.

“Yes, it’s still possible to keep to the 2 degree target but the more we wait for action the more difficult it will be,” WMO director-general Michel Jarraud told a news conference.

You have scenarios assuming very strong decisions, very quick and sharp reduction of greenhouse gases, and you have other scenarios with business as usual, where you end up with predictions of additional warming of 5, 6 degrees, maybe even more. That will very much depend on the decisions (in Paris).
Michel Jarraud, WMO director-general

Global average surface temperatures in 2015 were likely to reach what the agency called the “symbolic and significant milestone” of 1C above the pre-industrial era which is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, according to the WMO report.

“The year whose annual mean temperature is likely to be most strongly influenced by the current El Niño is 2016 rather than 2015,” the WMO said. Jarraud said El Niño may be responsible for 16-20 percent of the rise and longer-term averages showed temperatures were rising regardless of El Niño or its cooling counterpart La Niña.

A preliminary estimate based on data from January to October showed the global average surface temperature for 2015 was around 0.73C above the 1961-1990 average of 14C and around 1C above the pre-industrial 1880-1899 period, the WMO said. The years 2011-2015 have been the hottest five-year period on record, with temperatures about 0.57C (1.01 Fahrenheit) above the 1961-1990 reference period.

“This is all bad news for the planet,” Jarraud said.

“The world’s ten warmest years have all occurred since 1998, with eight of them being since 2005,” the WMO said.

Next year may be even warmer – levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen to a new record every year for the past 30 years and El Niño is likely to continue into 2016.

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