The World Meteorological Organisation has said a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases makes a warmer future inevitable.
This year, set to be among the top 10 warmest on record, has been marked by extremes such as heatwaves in Australia and floods from Sudan to Europe, the WMO said in a report.
It predicted impacts including more heatwaves, downpours and rising sea levels and more intense cyclones.
“This decade, the last decade, was the warmest decade on record and what we call ‘cold’ years now are actually warmer than any warm year before 1998. So therefore, this is further confirmation of the fact that the warming certainly has not stopped,” the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation, Michel Jarraud, said on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Warsaw.
The UN agency said individual tropical cyclones such as Typhoon Haiyan cannot be directly attributed to climate change.
“Surface temperatures are only part of the wider picture of our changing climate. The impact on our water cycle is already becoming apparent – as manifested by droughts, floods and extreme precipitation,” Jarraud added.
The WMO said more than 90 percent of the extra heat from greenhouse gases is absorbed by oceans.
It predicts that sea levels will continue to rise, making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges.
“Near (the) Philippines, the sea level rise over the last 20 years was probably of the order of three to four times bigger than it was globally. Definitely because of the higher sea level, the damage has been more than what it would have been 100 years before, under similar wind conditions,” Michel Jarraud added.
The WMO argues that while the relationship between climate change and the frequency of tropical cyclones is the subject of much research, their impact is expected to become more intense.