The weather around the world last year was as bad as it seemed, according to World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) analysis.
Deadly floods, droughts and heatwaves struck around the globe, costing billions of pounds, the United Nations’ climate agency said in a report on Friday.
Global ocean heat and acidity levels hit record highs and Antarctic sea ice and European Alps glaciers reached record low amounts.
While levels have been higher before human civilisation, global sea height and the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and methane in the air reached highest modern recorded amounts.
Sea level is now rising at about double the rate it did in the 1990s, WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said at a press conference.
Oceans could rise another half a metre to a metre (20 to 39 inches) by the end of century as more ice melts from ice sheets and glaciers and warmer water expands, he said.
“Unfortunately these negative trends in weather patterns and all of these parameters may continue until the 2060s” despite efforts to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases because of the pollution already spewed, Mr Taalas said.
“We have already lost this melting of this glaciers game and sea level rise game. So that’s bad news.”
Global heat and other weather records go back to 1850.
Last year was close to but not quite the hottest year on record, ranking fifth or sixth hottest depending on measuring techniques.
But the past eight years are the hottest eight years on record globally.
The world kept that warm despite the rare third year of a La Nina, a natural temporary cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide.
The United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand had their hottest years on record.
China’s heatwave was its longest and most extensive on record, with its summer not just the hottest on record but also smashing the old record by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius, the 55-page report said.
Africa’s drought displaced more than 1.7 million people in Somalia and Ethiopia, while Pakistan’s devastating flooding — which put one-third of the nation under water at one point — displaced about eight million people, the report said.