The world’s oceans reached their hottest and most acidic levels on record last year, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), as UN authorities warned that the war in Ukraine jeopardised global climate pledges.
The oceans experienced the most dramatic extremes as the World Meteorological Organization outlined a spectrum of instability caused by climate change in its annual “State of the Global Climate” report. It claimed that melting ice sheets have contributed to sea levels reaching unprecedented highs in 2021.
“Our environment is changing right in front of our eyes.”
“The heat stored by man-made greenhouse gases will warm the earth for many generations,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
The research comes on the heels of the recent United Nations climate assessment, which warned that mankind must substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions or risk increasingly catastrophic climate change.
Taalas warned reporters that climate concerns were getting little publicity while other crises, including the COVID-19 epidemic and the Ukraine crisis, took centre stage.
Selwin Hart, the special adviser on climate action to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, criticised countries for failing to meet climate commitments as a result of the conflict, which has pushed up energy prices and prompted European nations to seek to replace Russia as an energy supplier.
INCREASE IN DANGER
“We are… seeing many large economies make choices that, quite frankly, have the potential to lock in a high-carbon, high-polluting future and will jeopardise our climate ambitions,” Hart told reporters.
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According to the WMO research, levels of climate-warming carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere will exceed historical records in 2021.
Globally, the average temperature last year was 1.11 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial normal, as the globe approaches the 1.5 degrees Celsius barrier beyond which the impacts of warming are predicted to become severe.
“It’s only a matter of time before we have another record-breaking year,” Taalas remarked.
The oceans bear the burden of heat and emissions. Water bodies absorb around 90% of the Earth’s accumulated heat and 23% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.
The water has warmed significantly quicker in the previous 20 years, reaching a new peak in 2021, and is likely to get considerably warmer, according to the analysis. It highlighted that reversing this alteration would most certainly take hundreds or millennia.
As it absorbs and interacts with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean has become the most acidic in at least 26,000 years.
In the recent decade, the sea level has increased by 4.5 cm (1.8 inches), with the yearly growth from 2013 to 2021 more than double what it was from 1993 to 2002.
Individual intense heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and other climate-related calamities were also mentioned by the WMO, with reports of more than $100 billion in losses.