2016 will most likely be the hottest year ever recorded, smashing the previous record set by 2015 says the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
Global temperatures this year are approximately 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In a provisional statement ahead of its Status of the Global Climate in 2016 report the WMO confirmed that 16 or the 17 hottest years ever recorded have taken place in this century.
“Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue,” he said.
“Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen. ‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular. Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones,” he said.
Arctic sea ice levels were well below normal this year. The seasonal minimum in September was 4.14 million square kilometres, the equal-second (with 2007) lowest extent on record after 2012. The winter maximum in March was the lowest on record.
Amit Dave / Reuters
There were a number of major heatwaves during 2016. The year started with an extreme heatwave in southern Africa. Many stations set all-time records, including 42.7°C at Pretoria and 38.9°C at Johannesburg on 7 January.
Handout . / Reuters
The most damaging wildfire in Canadian history occurred in May in the city of Fort McMurray in Alberta. The fire ultimately burned an area of about 590,000 hectares and was Canada’s most costly natural disaster. It led to the total evacuation of the city and ultimately destroyed 2,400 buildings.
Annual average global carbon dioxide concentrations in 2015 reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time. Initial observations indicate new records in 2016. At Cape Grim (Australia), CO2 levels in August averaged 401.42 ppm, compared with 398.13 ppm in August 2015.