Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released the State of the Global Climate Report 2022.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About State of the Global Climate report
- Key findings of the State of the Global Climate report:
- Impacts of Record Highs in Climate Indicators:
About State of the Global Climate report
- The State of the Global Climate report is published annually by the WMO.
- The report provides a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and changes in the global climate system.
- The report focuses on key climate indicators such as Greenhouse Gasses, Temperatures, Sea level rise, Ocean Heat and Acidification, Sea ice and Glaciers.
- The report also highlights the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
Key findings of the State of the Global Climate report:
- The global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15°C higher than the average temperature between 1850 and 1900.
- The years from 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest on record since 1850, despite three consecutive years of cooling La Niña.
- Concentrations of the three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, reached record highs in 2021.
- The annual increase in methane concentration in 2021 was the highest ever recorded.
- Global mean sea level continued to rise in 2022, reaching a new record high for the satellite altimeter record.
- For the period 2005-2019, 55% of the GMSL rise was due to ocean warming, and 36% was from total land ice loss from glaciers, Greenland, and Antarctica.
Ocean heat and Ocean acidification:
- Ocean heat content reached a new record high in 2022. Around 90% of the energy trapped in the climate system by greenhouse gases goes into the ocean, somewhat ameliorating even higher temperature increases but posing risks to marine ecosystems.
- CO2 reacts with seawater and causes a decrease in pH, known as ocean acidification, which threatens organisms and ecosystem services. The report states that the current rate of pH change is unprecedented since at least 26 thousand years.
Sea ice and Glaciers:
- Sea ice in Antarctica dropped to 1.92 million km² in February 2022, which is the lowest on record and almost 1 million km² below the long-term mean from 1991-2020.
- Glaciers are losing a lot of ice, with an average thickness change of over (-) 1.3 meters between October 2021 and October 2022, which is much larger than the average of the past decade.
- The European Alps saw record glacier melt due to various factors such as a lack of winter snow, dust from the Sahara, and heatwaves.
Impacts of Record Highs in Climate Indicators:
Drought and Food Insecurity
- Five consecutive wet seasons with below-average rainfall, the longest in 40 years
- Over 20 million people faced acute food insecurity in the affected region
- Total damage and economic losses assessed at USD 30 billion
- July and August were each the wettest on record nationally
- Flooding in Pakistan affected about 33 million people, including Afghan refugees
- Excess deaths associated with heat in Europe exceeded 15,000
- China experienced its most extensive and long-lasting heatwave since national records began
- Pre-monsoon season heatwaves in India and Pakistan caused a decline in crop yields
- As of 2021, 2.3 billion people faced food insecurity, with 924 million facing severe food insecurity
- Projections estimated 767.9 million people facing undernourishment in 2021
- Half of these people are in Asia and one third in Africa
- Catastrophic impacts of drought in Somalia led to almost 1.2 million people becoming internally displaced
- More than 60,000 people crossed into Ethiopia and Kenya during the same period
- Somalia was also hosting almost 35,000 refugees and asylum seekers in drought-affected areas
-Source: Down to Earth