The world’s waters reached their warmest and most acidic levels on record last year, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), as UN authorities warned that the war in Ukraine threatened global climate commitments.
The oceans saw the most dramatic extremes as the World Meteorological Organization outlined a range 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 climate is changing right in front of our eyes. The heat trapped by man-made greenhouse gases will continue to warm the earth for many generations “WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stated 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 as other crises, including as the COVID-19 epidemic and the Ukraine crisis, took center stage.
Selwin Hart, the special adviser on climate action to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, criticized 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 jeopardize our climate ambitions,” Hart told reporters.
On Tuesday, the global equity index powerhouse MSCI warned that replacing Russian gas with coal would result in a disastrous increase in greenhouse gases.
According to the WMO report, 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 average, as the world approaches the 1.5 degrees Celsius barrier beyond which the effects 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 the 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 last 20 years, reaching a new peak in 2021, and is likely to become considerably warmer, according to the analysis. It highlighted that reversing this alteration would most certainly take hundreds or millennia.
As it absorbs and reacts with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean has become the most acidic in at least 26,000 years.
In the recent decade, sea level has risen 4.5 cm (1.8 inches), with the annual growth from 2013 to 2021 more than doubling 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 damages.