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The Global Climate 2011-2020: A Decade of Acceleration


Recently, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has published a report titled- The Global Climate 2011-2020: A Decade of Acceleration, concerning the alarming acceleration of climate change and its multifaceted impacts across the planet.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Insights from the Climate Report
  2. WMO’s Strategies for Integrating Climate Action and Development
  3. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

Insights from the Climate Report

Record-Breaking Temperatures
  • The years 2011-2020 set new high-temperature records for the earth’s surface.
  • Average global temperatures rose to 1.1 degrees Celsius above the late 19th-century levels.
  • The years 2016 and 2020 were notably the hottest, amplified by El Niño phenomena.
Greenhouse Gases Surge
  • There was a continued increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, with CO2 levels hitting 413.2 ppm in 2020, primarily due to human activities.
Oceans Under Stress
  • The ocean experienced a significant increase in warming, storing 90% of the heat, particularly in the depths up to 2000 meters, adversely affecting marine life.
  • The uptick in CO2 levels led to ocean acidification, disrupting marine life’s shell and bone structures.
Marine and Glacial Changes
  • Marine Heatwaves grew more frequent and severe, impacting 60% of the ocean’s surface.
  • Sea levels rose at an increased rate of 4.5mm annually due to melting ice and ocean warming.
Ice Loss
  • Glaciers experienced an average reduction in thickness of about 1 meter each year.
  • The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets saw a 38% increase in ice loss, contributing to sea-level rise.
Polar Shifts
  • The Arctic sea ice shrank further, particularly during the summer seasons.
Ozone Layer Recovery
  • The Antarctic ozone hole showed signs of recovery, a success attributed to the Montreal Protocol.
Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Extreme weather events posed challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), influencing food security and economic stability.
  • While early warning systems have improved, financial damages from extreme weather events have risen.
  • The decade was marked by no extreme events causing over 10,000 deaths, a first since 1950.

WMO’s Strategies for Integrating Climate Action and Development

  • Boosting Resilience Collaboratively
    • Advance global resilience to current and forthcoming crises by fostering partnerships with international bodies.
    • Enhancing Tripartite Interactions
    • Improve the interaction between science, policy, and society to encourage collective, impactful actions.
  • Capacity Building and Collaboration
    • Support the development of institutional capabilities and promote cooperation across various sectors and nations, with a focus on aiding the global South.
  • Policy Synergy and Coordination
    • Promote consistent and coordinated policy efforts among decision-makers from different sectors to improve the alignment of climate objectives with development goals, at all governance levels.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

  • The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for meteorology, climate, operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
  • It serves as the authoritative voice within the UN system regarding the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, climate patterns, and the distribution of water resources.
  • WMO plays a vital role in coordinating international efforts to monitor and assess atmospheric and climate systems, promoting research, facilitating data exchange, and providing weather and climate information for sustainable development.
  • The origins of WMO can be traced back to the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), established in 1873.
  • In 1950, WMO was officially established as the specialized agency of the UN for meteorology, operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
  • Building upon the foundation laid by the IMO, WMO has expanded its scope and activities to address the evolving challenges in meteorology and climate science.
Headquarters and Membership:
  • The headquarters of WMO is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Currently, WMO has a membership of 193 countries and territories, representing virtually all nations across the globe. The membership reflects the global recognition of the importance of international cooperation in meteorology, climate, and hydrology.
Governance Structure:

The governance structure of WMO comprises several key bodies responsible for policy-making, decision-making, and the day-to-day operations of the organization:

World Meteorological Congress:

  • The World Meteorological Congress is the supreme body of WMO.
  • It convenes at least every four years and brings together representatives from all member countries.
  • The Congress establishes general policies, adopts regulations, and provides strategic guidance to WMO.

Executive Council:

  • The Executive Council consists of 37 members, including the President and Vice-Presidents.
  • It meets annually to implement policies and decisions made by the World Meteorological Congress.
  • The Executive Council oversees the day-to-day operations and management of WMO.

Technical Commissions and Regional Associations:

  • WMO operates through a network of technical commissions and regional associations.
  • Technical commissions focus on specific areas of meteorology, hydrology, and related disciplines.
  • Regional associations facilitate regional cooperation and the exchange of meteorological and hydrological information.


  • The Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General, is responsible for the coordination and administration of WMO activities.
  • It supports the implementation of policies and decisions made by the World Meteorological Congress and Executive Council.
  • The Secretariat serves as the central hub for data exchange, research coordination, and capacity building initiatives.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024