WMO horror stories

If you’re a fan of horror stories, the World Meteorological Organisation is not the first place you might think of checking out.  But believe me, it is publishing some terrifying stuff.

Every year the WMO publishes a report called “Statement on the State of the Global Climate”.  These reports are quite different from those published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the IPCC.  The IPCC reports tread so carefully, they almost trip over themselves as they watch where to put their feet.  This isn’t really their fault.  Their summary reports are airbrushed so thoroughly by their government handlers that even  the most alarming observations of the hundreds of scientists who work on the text are weakened to the point where they seem to be little more than mild precautionary advice.

Not so the WMO reports.  They lay it out exactly as they see it.  For the WMO, it is what it is. The latest report looks clear-eyed at the state of the global climate in 2019.  Here ‘s what they found :

  • The annual increases in the three main greenhouse gases were larger than the increases in the previous year, and above the 10-year averaged growth rates. In other words, the emissions that drive the changing climate are accelerating.  
  • As a result, 2019  was very probably the second warmest year on record.  Global mean temperatures are already about 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. So we are well on the way to going way past 1.5°C of warming—a threshold that, once exceeded, the IPCC predicts will bring devastating environmental impacts.
  • The past five years 2015 – 2019 were the five warmest on record. Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding once since 1850.  
  • Areas of notable warmth in 2019 include large areas of the Arctic, central and eastern Europe, southern Africa, mainland south easts Asia and parts of Australia—where it was the warmest and driest year on record.
  • Sea levels continue to rise. Global mean sea levels reached their highest level since the beginning of high precision measurements in 1993.  The loss of ice mass from the ice sheets is the main cause of the accelerated rise in global sea level, coupled with the steady increase in the expansion of ocean water caused by warming.  We now have marine heat waves on an unprecedented scale.
  • The oceans are acidifying as they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—threatening the development of marine organisms such as mussels, crustaceans and coral. Moreover, oxygen in the open and coastal oceans is declining. New studies identify deoxygenation alongside ocean warming and acidification as major threats to ocean ecosystems and human well-being.    
  • As expected, the cryosphere is in crisis. Arctic sea ice extent continues to decline. Glaciers continue to melt, and the Greenland ice sheet continues to lose mass: losing almost 500 billion tonnes of ice over the period 2018/2019.
  • In 2019, there were numerous major heatwaves. In Europe, in June and July, a temperature of 46°C was recorded in southern France, while in Australia the summer was exceptionally hot with January being the hottest month on record. In Israel in July the mercury in the town of Sedom  rose to almost 50°C.   
  • And perhaps most ominously among all the worsening trends: after a decade of steady decline, hunger is on the rise again. Over 820 million, or one in every nine people in the world, suffered from hunger in 2018.
Europe swelters in the summer of 2019

Although the details are alarming, this is the way it’s been since before the turn of the century. The most frightening aspect is that most government’s apparently don’t care. The world continues blithely along this path seemingly dismissive of the disruption and devastation the changing climate is now causing.

Although the shift from coal to natural gas has reduced the emissions of greenhouse gases from the energy sector in several countries, this decline has been more than outpaced by the increasing emissions from other sectors of the global economy—particulary in Asia. So global emissions of greenhouse gases, the primary driver of the changing climate, continue to climb.

Moreover, the pace of global heating is accelerating. The most obvious sign is at the poles. The average annual loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica over the last decade was 475 billion tonnes—six times faster than the 81 billion tonnes lost in the 1990s.  The greater loss of mass from the ice sheets is the principal driver of the rising seas. In 2019, the global mean sea level reached its highest value since the beginning of high-precision altimetry records in 1993.

There will be no respite from the increasing destruction caused by the changing climate unless the pace of global emissions slows and eventually stalls. This may in fact happen this year—because of the economic disruption caused by the corona virus.  There is a certain irony here.  It apparently takes a global pandemic and several thousand deaths before governments take action to protect the welfare and well-being of their populations rather than continue their obsessive quest for ever greater economic growth.

The Pangolin is the most trafficked animal on the planet. It has no defense against human predators

It is very probable that the COVID-19 virus jumped from animals to humans in the so-called wet markets of Asia—where wild animals are trafficked, held in appalling conditions, and finally killed for human consumption.

The savage killing of live animals for food in Asia’s wet markets is only one example of the reckless disregard humans have for the natural environment and the wild animals that struggle to survive on this planet as we mindlessly continue to exploit it regardless of the cost. As one biologist warned about the spreading virus: “This is Mother Nature’s revenge”.  


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5 thoughts on “WMO horror stories

  • Pingback: WMO horror stories – Olduvai.ca

  • 04/13/2020 at 4:19 pm

    I am interested to receive your newsletters.

  • 03/24/2020 at 12:59 pm

    Martin, isn’t there a way to combine modern-era climate measurements with paleo-climatic analysis to provide us with longer wavelength charts on the key data: mean global temp, GHG concentration, sea level, etc ? . . . i.e. a timescale from 10,000 years ago to 2020 . . in my experience, many folks can’t equate “climate crisis” with observations that only go back 30 years (altimetry) or 150 years (temperature) . . the statistics of reliable extrapolation using such short timeframes are not convincing for many. If only there were curves for much longer periods that show today’s climate vs past cycles. Anecdotally, some paleo-markers might indicate that homo sapiens have been through numerous climate cycles many times before . . eg. man’s exodus events from Africa were caused by extreme heat/dry periods in sub-Sahara Africa, etc.

    • 03/24/2020 at 4:49 pm

      Lewis, There are temperature reconstructions that go back tens of thousands of years–like the famous hockey stick chart of Professor Michael Mann and his colleagues. There are also ice core meaurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that go back thousands of years. I will post these in a reply –give me a couple of days. But the really accurate measurements of sea level rise and glacier mass loss are due to very sophisticated satellite measurements and the ARGO measurement of ocean temperatures. This is cutting edge stuff and so is very recent.

  • 03/20/2020 at 3:22 pm

    Hi Martin,
    I very much appreciate your article and your revealing horror stories about the consequences taking place due to climate change. However, you have not touched on that which is happening in a quest by one country in particular to dominate the rest of humanity. A program by the military industrial complex known as “Full Spectrum Dominance 2020” suggests that our neighbour to the south will do whatever it takes to control human activities on a world-wide basis. And part of the plan is to alter the ionosphere to allow for weapons that will control the weather – and we are witnessing the consequences of bombarding the ionosphere with electro-magnetic radio waves that highly excite that layer of our atmosphere in ways that we can blame Mother Nature with human help via releases of GHGs (that your article addresses) for extremes in weather such as wildfires in Australia this past summer, and the 600+ wildfires in BC in two consecutive summers (2016/2017, I believe) that destroyed thousands of sq kms of forests in our country. Raytheon originally managed the facility in Alaska known as Haarp, but indigenous folks worried about the military implications, so it was turned over to the Geophysical Institute of the U of Alaska. They take credit for the artificial auroras that sky-watchers “ooh and awe” about vs Northern Lights. I’ll pass on a very insightful article by Michel Chossudovsky on this subject, either hereby attached, or to your email address, it the former will not accept a link.


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