Records near impossible without manmade climate change
The world’s run of record-breaking years is extremely unlikely to have happened without the global warming caused by human activities. 13 of the 15 hottest years in the 150-year-long record occurred between 2000-14. Researchers found there is a just a 0.01% chance that this happened due to natural variations.
2015 was revealed to have smashed all earlier records on Wednesday, after the new study had been completed, meaning the odds that the record run of heat is a fluke are now even lower.
“Natural climate variations just can’t explain the observed recent global heat records, but manmade global warming can,” said Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and one of the research team.
He said the record heat brought substantial impacts: “It has led to unprecedented local heatwaves across the world, sadly resulting in loss of life and aggravating droughts and wildfires. The risk of heat extremes has been multiplied due to our interference with the Earth system, as our analysis shows.”
The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed on Monday that the global average surface temperature in 2015 shattered all previous records and said 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2000.
“We have reached for the first time the threshold of 1C above pre-industrial temperatures. It is a sobering moment in the history of our planet,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas.