In Brief

2017 to be one of the hottest years on record

World Meteorological Organisation warns recent ‘extraordinary’ weather events are first result of man-made climate change

This will be one of the hottest years on record, according to provisional figures from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) which has said “extraordinary” weather events in 2017 are the direct result of climate change.

 Opening this year’s UN climate talks in Bonn, researchers from the WMO presented their annual State of Global Climate report, which found that 2017 is “very likely” to be in the top three warmest years on record and the hottest excluding the years affected by the El Nino phenomenon.

Data for January to September suggests average global temperatures this year were 1.1C above the pre-industrial figure. This is dangerously close to the 1.5C limit seen as crucial for safeguarding island nations. A separate greenhouse gases study released last week found concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was also at a record high.

The WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas told the BBC that this year has seen “extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50C in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic, reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa”. He said many weather events “bear the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities”.

With the number of cyclones and category four hurricanes at its highest recorded rate - and droughts and heatwaves affecting many parts of Africa and South America this year - the WMO report “is likely to reinforce a sense of urgency among many delegates” at the UN conference underway in Germany, says the BBC.

The COP23 talks, a follow-up to the landmark Paris agreement of 2015, will focus on a new process by which countries’ pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions can be toughened, in line with scientific advice.

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