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    HomeScienceHeat Records Shattered: World Faces 12 Months of Unprecedented Global Warming

    Heat Records Shattered: World Faces 12 Months of Unprecedented Global Warming

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    In an unforgiving sequence of climate change indicators, the past 12 months have persistently set heat records, signaling an alarming trend of rising global temperatures.

    The European Union’s climate change monitoring service, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), reported that each month during the year leading to the end of May witnessed temperatures eclipsing previous records.

    Climate Change Effects in Island Nation of Kiribati” by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    It’s a stark reflection of the trajectory toward what the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has termed “climate hell,” a path that calls for immediate and sweeping action to divert.

    These consecutive months culminated in May reaching a shocking 1.52 degrees Celsius (2.74 Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, marking the 11th time in the span of a year that temperatures have soared past the Paris Agreement’s aspirational 1.5 degrees threshold.

    This sequence of record-breaking heat is deemed “shocking” by Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S, yet a continuation of this trend is anticipated without a sign of reversal in the near future.

    The global mean temperature over this 12-month period stood at 1.63 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average, marking it the warmest period since records began.

    Despite these alarming statistics, it’s critical to comprehend that the 1.5 degrees Celsius target set in the Paris Climate Agreement is a measure of the average over decades, not individual years. The target is not just a ceiling but a tipping point beyond which scientists warn of severe and irreversible impacts.

    Global Warming my arse” by therapysessions is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The urgency of the situation has been underscored by a warning from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). They’ve indicated an 80% likelihood that one of the next five years could see a temporary surge beyond the 1.5-degree mark, a sobering jump from last year’s 66% prediction.

    The UN Secretary-General has urged for a drastic reduction in global fossil fuel production and use by 2030, demanding an “exit ramp off the highway to climate hell.”

    While the WMO’s Deputy Secretary-General, Ko Barrett, emphasizes the critical need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the reality remains stark. Carbon dioxide emissions reached an all-time high last year, and coal, oil, and gas continue to satisfy over three-quarters of the world’s energy demand.

    The repercussions of global warming are felt unevenly across the globe, with the most vulnerable populations bearing the brunt. In India, heatwaves have led to deaths, heat strokes, and school closures. The informal labor sector, constituting about 90% of the workforce, faces a relentless heat without access to cooling systems, highlighting a critical public health crisis.

    Similarly, in Brazil, increased rainfall, intensified by global warming, has led to severe flooding, displacing around 600,000 people. The most vulnerable – older individuals, those with disabilities, and children – face the greatest risks from climate change.

    Climate talks in Bonn, Germany, where over 6,000 delegates are laying the groundwork for financial goals to be decided at COP 29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, are reflective of the international action being taken.

    Developing countries, having contributed the least to climate change, are disproportionately suffering its effects and calling for increased financial aid to mitigate carbon emissions and cope with extreme weather events.

    This call for action is intertwined with the scientific community’s analysis of temperature records. Since 1880, agencies like NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the UK Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre have been meticulously tracking global temperatures. Reconstructed data from tree rings, pollen counts, and ice cores supplement this record, sketching a comprehensive picture of our planet’s warming.

    Relevant articles:
    Temperatures smash records 12 months in a row – DW – 06, DW
    Why does the temperature record shown on your “Vital Signs” page begin at 1880?, nasa.gov
    World hits streak of record temperatures as UN warns of ‘climate hell’, AOL.com
    World experiences hottest May on record, extending exceptional 12-month streak, thenationalnews.com

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