It’s official, this year has been the warmest on record since 1880. The Earth’s temperature registered 1.22 degrees Celsius more than the average of the 20th century. That is according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Glaciers in Norway have acted like a sort of thermometer: this year, out of 38 of them, 33 have receded. The Grafjell glacier has lost 120 metres in length since 2000.
Palaeoclimatologist Jostein Bakke said: “The shrinking we’ve seen over the last ten years is dramatic when considered over a longer perspective.”
The Bondhusbreen glacier today is a trickle of what it was in 1981 — a massive cake of ice.
Since 2000, supposedly normal or cooler years have been outnumbered by warmer ones.
Cold waves sweeping the northeastern US are an exception, NOAA said, as the surface area of the US is less than two percent of the globe’s total.
The agency said the cause of deadly torrential rains that have caused flooding such as in Morocco is the raised temperature of the oceans in October.
Europe has also had deadly storms, like in northern Italy, because the Mediterranean is warmer.
World Bank strategist Rachel Kyte suggested political leadership and realistic vision are urgent priorities.
“All of the pollution that we put into the atmosphere in the past decades means that we are now locked in to a one and half degree centigrade increase in temperature by the mid-century. That means that there’s very little we can do about that and so we have to be able to adapt to build resilience to that.”
Sao Paolo in Brazil needs resilience to drought; the country’s biggest, most productive city is running dangerously dry. The experts say this is caused by deforestation in the Amazon, along with our emissions of greenhouse effect gases also weakening a once-stable eco-weather system that used to carry rain there.
Strategists insist that climate change requires political and technical solutions, yes, but also psychology in communication to adapt our global behaviour.