Date
20 September 2017
Temperatures reached 46C in Australia during a heatwave in January. Photo: AFP
Temperatures reached 46C in Australia during a heatwave in January. Photo: AFP

Humans blamed as 2014 set to be hottest year ever

This year is on track to be the hottest on record, the United Nations weather agency said.

Leading scientists say humans are likely to be responsible, the Financial Times reported.

Provisional figures from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) show that if temperatures stay high for the rest of the year, 2014 will be the warmest year on record.

This would mean 14 of the 15 warmest years ever will have occurred since the turn of the century.

The news came as thousands of delegates to this year’s UN climate negotiations in Lima arrived for the last big round of talks before a global climate change deal is due to be sealed in Paris at the end of next year.

Meanwhile, British government scientists said humans are likely to be responsible for the elevated temperatures.

“We would not be breaking these records without human influence on the climate,” the newspaper quoted Peter Stott, the British Met Office’s head of climate attribution, as saying.

The WMO said the record-breaking heat and torrential rains around the world this year were consistent with a changing climate.

“There is no standstill in global warming,” said Michel Jarraud, WMO secretary-general.

“What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere.”

The WMO said the average global land and sea surface temperature between January and October was about 0.57C higher than the average recorded between 1961 and 1990.

It was also 0.09C above the average for the past 10 years.

Heatwaves were recorded around the world this year in South Africa, Australia, Brazil and Argentina.

At the same time, Australia, the United States and Russia endured unusual cold periods, while devastating floods or unusually heavy rains afflicted parts of Europe, Japan and India.

In September, southern parts of the Balkan Peninsula received more than 250 per cent of their monthly average rainfall, a pattern seen in many other regions around the world. 

Global sea surface temperatures were also the highest on record, the WMO said, at about 0.45C above the 1961-1990 average.

Scientists say about 93 percent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels and other human actions ends up in the oceans.

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