Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Following 2016's record-breaking heat (the year marked a new record as regards global average temperature), and 2017's already quite strange weather, we are now in "truly uncharted territory," according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.

Climate Change

World Meteorological Organization: World Is In “Truly Uncharted Territory” Following 2016’s Record-Breaking Heat (+ 2017’s Strange Weather)

Following 2016’s record-breaking heat (the year marked a new record as regards global average temperature), and 2017’s already quite strange weather, we are now in “truly uncharted territory,” according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.

Following 2016’s record-breaking heat (the year marked a new record as regards global average temperature), and 2017’s already quite strange weather, we are now in “truly uncharted territory,” according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.

While 2016’s extremes can be partly attributed to the lingering effects of El Niño (how much? who knows?), 2017’s strange weather is harder to simply dismiss, as some may prefer to do. In particular, the state of sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic is “alarming,” as the regions have been lingering at record-low levels or near-record-low levels for months now.

“Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” commented David Carlson, the director of the WMO’s world climate research programme, as reported in The Guardian.

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” stated Jeffrey Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilisation, which thrives on stability.”

To build on that statement, the last time that the world was this warm was around 115,000 years ago, and the last time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were as high as they are now was around 4 million years ago. To explain what may seem at first to some to be a discrepancy there: it takes a while for the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to build to the point of their max temperature forcing — not all of the effects and activated feedback loops are immediate.

With that taken into account, it’s pretty clear at this point that the world’s ice caps aren’t likely to persist for more than a few hundred years (at the most), that the Arctic Ocean is likely to be free of sea ice within the near future. Additionally, a fast collapse of Greenland’s ice sheet is a real (and very dangerous) possibility.

“Arctic ice conditions have been tracking at record low conditions since October, persisting for 6 consecutive months, something not seen before in the (four-decade) satellite data record,” commented Prof Julienne Stroeve, at University College London in the UK. “Over in the southern hemisphere, the sea ice also broke new record lows in the seasonal maximum and minimum extents, leading to the least amount of global sea ice ever recorded.”

Emily Shuckburgh, of the British Antarctic Survey, commented as well: “The Arctic may be remote, but changes that occur there directly affect us. The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is already contributing significantly to sea level rise, and new research is highlighting that the melting of Arctic sea ice can alter weather conditions across Europe, Asia and North America.”

The Guardian adds: “Global sea level rise surged between November 2014 and February 2016, with the El Niño event helping the oceans rise by 15mm. That jump would have taken 5 years under the steady rise seen in recent decades, as ice caps melt and oceans get warmer and expand in volume. Final data for 2016 sea level rise have yet to be published.”

That’s quite “impressive” in a way. I’ve always been very skeptical of the rather conservative sea level rise predictions put out there by groups such as the IPCC. It’s looking pretty likely at this point that there will be significant sea level rise before the end of the century, regardless of any possible efforts to notably reduce global greenhouse gas emissions today or in coming years.


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Climate Change

Courtesy of The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Every 10 years, NOAA releases an analysis of U.S. weather of the past three decades...

Climate Change

Increasingly frequent power failures combined with heatwaves fueled by climate change pose severe, compounding threats to major American cities, new research suggests. The study,...

Climate Change

Aggressive action to slash methane pollution could slow global warming by as much as 30%, new research shows. The study, in press at the...

Climate Change

Originally published by NOAA Climate.gov The first month of Northern Hemisphere spring 2021 was warmer than average across the globe according to the global...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.