Friday, August 3, 2018
Breaking: 2017 – Third-warmest year on record !
2017 – Third-warmest year on record !
The ‘State of the Climate in 2017’ is just out. According to this report, published by the American Meteorological Society, 2017 was the third-warmest year on record for the globe, trailing 2016 and 2015. The planet also experienced record-high greenhouse gas concentrations as well as rises in sea level. The following are some of the important revelations from extracted from the report.
Green House Gases -
In 2017, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide— reached new record highs. The annual global average carbon dioxide concentration at Earth’s surface for 2017 was 405.0 ± 0.1 ppm, 2.2 ppm greater than for 2016 and the highest in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800 000 years. The global growth rate of CO2 has nearly quadrupled since the early 1960s.
Warmest non-El Niño year –
Notably, it was the warmest non-El Niño year in the instrumental record. Above Earth’s surface, the annual lower tropospheric temperature was also either second or third highest according to all datasets analyzed. The lower stratospheric temperature was about 0.2°C higher than the record cold temperature of 2016 according to most of the in situ and satellite datasets.
Glacier melting –
Preliminary data indicate that glaciers across the world lost mass for the 38th consecutive year on record; the declines are remarkably consistent from region to region. Cumulatively since 1980, this loss is equivalent to slicing 22 meters off the top of the average glacier.
Sea Surface Temperature –
Across the global oceans, the overall long-term SST warming trend remained strong. Although SST cooled slightly from 2016 to 2017, the last three years produced the three highest annual values observed; these high anomalies have been associated with widespread coral bleaching. The most recent global coral bleaching lasted three full years, June 2014 to May 2017, and was the longest, most widespread, and almost certainly most destructive such event on record.
Global mean sea level –
Global integrals of 0–700-m and 0–2000-m ocean heat content reached record highs in 2017, and global mean sea level during the year became the highest annual average in the 25-year satellite altimetry record, rising to 77 mm above the 1993 average.
Heavy precipitation –
Precipitation over global land areas in 2017 was clearly above the long-term average. Among noteworthy regional precipitation records in 2017, Russia reported its second wettest year on record (after 2013) and Norway experienced its sixth wettest year since records began in 1900.
Floods in India –
Across India, heavy rain and flood-related incidents during the monsoon season claimed around 800 lives.
Forest fires –
Devastating fires impacted British Columbia, destroying 1.2 million hectares of timber, bush, and grassland, due in part to the region’s driest summer on record. In the United States, an extreme western wildfire season burned over 4 million hectares; the total costs of $18 billion tripled the previous U.S. annual wildfire cost record set in 1991.
Ranjan K Panda
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India