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2010-2019 confirmed as warmest decade in history

The last ten years have been the hottest on record according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) published 10 March.

The average global temperature was 1,1°C higher than pre-industrial levels.

“We are currently way off track to meeting either the 1.5°C or 2°C targets that the Paris Agreement calls for,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a foreword.

The report confirms the information in a provisional statement issued at the UN Climate Change Conference in December that 2019 was the second warmest year in the instrumental record.

2015-2019 are the five warmest years on record, and 2010-2019 the warmest decade on record. Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850. 2019 ended with a global average temperature of 1.1°C above estimated pre-industrial levels, second only to the record set in 2016 when a very strong El Niño event contributed to an increased global mean temperature atop the overall warming trend.

“Given that greenhouse gas levels continue to increase, the warming will continue. A recent decadal forecast indicates that a new annual global temperature record is likely in the next five years. It is a matter of time,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“We just had the warmest January on record. Winter was unseasonably mild in many parts of the northern hemisphere. Smoke and pollutants from damaging fires in Australia circumnavigated the globe, causing a spike in CO2 emissions. Reported record temperatures in Antarctica were accompanied by large-scale ice melt and the fracturing of a glacier which will have repercussions for sea-level rise,” said Mr Taalas.

The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, leading international experts, scientific institutions and United Nations agencies.

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