21:12 GMT25 September 2020
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    The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has confirmed that 2016 is on track to become the hottest year in recorded history.

    According to a WMO provisional statement issued Monday ahead of the Global Climate in 2016 report, global temperatures for January to September this year were approximately 1.2 Celsius over pre-industrial levels, and 0.88 Celsius over the average for 1961-1990.

    If 2016 justifies its reputation in the next two months, which is "very likely" to happen, it will mean that the 21st century will see 16 of the 17 hottest years recorded.

    "Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016," WMO secretary general Petteri Taalas said in a statement, adding that although the powerful El Nino phenomenon of 2015-16 has dispersed, the heating is not going to stop.

    Taalas noted that the organization normally measured temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so the staff was surprised that, in parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6 C to 7 C higher than the long-term average, and in other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada, they were at least 3 C above average.

    Arctic sea ice levels were "well below normal" throughout the year, according to the report, while ocean temperatures spiked, contributing to devastating coral bleaching and damaging marine ecosystems in tropical waters.

    Concentrations of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increased to 400 parts per million last year and are expected to surpass that record in 2016.

    The WMO also stressed that the effects of global warming are resulting in disastrous consequences, including heatwaves, flooding and storms, events that have become much more frequent, no longer ‘once in a generation' occurrences.

    Hurricane Matthew, which ravaged Haiti in October, as well as catastrophic flooding in China, several major heatwaves, the most damaging wildfire in Canadian history, and continuing droughts, all happened this year.

    The WMO report was published as UN climate talks in Marrakesh entered their second week. The meeting is the first first since last year's huddle in France which resulted in the unprecedented climate-rescue Paris Agreement.


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