New UN weather forecast ‘a chronicle of chaos’: UN chief


The preliminary 2022 State of the Global Climate study outlines increasingly dramatic signs of the climate emergency, including a doubling of the rate of sea level rise since 1993, to a new record this year; and indications of unprecedented melting of glaciers in the European Alps.

The full 2022 report is expected to be released in the spring of 2023, but the preliminary study was released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27, to raise awareness of the enormity of the issues world leaders need to address if they want to. they have any hope of getting the climate crisis under control.

“The greater the warming, the greater the impact,” said WMO chief Petter Taalas, who launched the report at an event in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, the venue for this year’s conference. “We now have such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that the bottom 1.5 degrees of the Paris Agreement is barely within reach. For many glaciers it is already too late and the melting will continue for hundreds if not thousands of yearswith major consequences for water safety”.

Critical conditions in all parts of the world

The report is a dizzying catalog of troubling climate events, taking place against a backdrop of record levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – the three main greenhouse gases contributing to global warming – currently estimated to be about 1.15 degrees Celsius above average. pre-industrial level.

In the Alps, an average thickness loss of between three and more than four meters was recorded, while in Switzerland all snow melted during the summer season, the first time in history; since the turn of the century, the volume of glacial ice in the country has decreased by more than a third.

Increasing ice melt worldwide has caused sea levels to rise at a rapid rate over the past 30 years. The rate of ocean warming has been exceptionally high over the past two decades; marine heat waves are becoming more common and warming is expected to continue in the future.

The study describes the effects of both drought and excessive rainfall. Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia face crop failures and food insecurity due to a new season of below-average rainfall, while more than a third of Pakistan was submerged in July and August due to record rainfall, affecting nearly eight million people. .

The region of southern Africa was ravaged for two months at the beginning of the year by a series of cyclones, hitting Madagascar hardest with torrential rains and devastating floods, and Hurricane Ian in September caused extensive damage and loss of life in Cuba and southwest Florida. .

Large parts of Europe are suffocating in repeated bouts of extreme heat: the United Kingdom saw a new national record on July 19, when temperatures rose above 40°C for the first time. This was accompanied by a persistent and damaging drought and forest fires.

Early warnings for everyone

In a statement released on Sunday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the WMO report as a “chronicle of climate chaos,” describing the catastrophic rate of climate change, which is destroying lives and livelihoods on every continent. .

Facing the inevitability of ongoing climate shocks and extreme weather around the world, Mr. Guterres will launch an action plan at COP27 to achieve Early Warnings for All in the next five years.

The UN chief explained that early warning systems are needed to protect people and communities everywhere. “We need to answer the planet’s distress signal with action, ambitious, credible climate action,” he argued. “COP27 must be the place – and now must be the time”

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