This year could be the second hottest on record and climate change is to blame, scientists claim
This year has been one of the hottest years on record but is likely to have been a little bit cooler than 2017.
Scientists expect 2017 to be the second or third warmest year since records began and said the year’s hurricanes, heatwaves and droughts ‘bear the signs’ of being caused by climate change.
In November, The World Meteorological Organisation blamed the ‘extraordinary weather’ on human activity.
WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said: ‘This is part of a long-term warming trend.
‘We have witnessed extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50C in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa.
‘Many of these events – and detailed scientific studies will determine exactly how many – bear the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities.’
As a result of a powerful El Nino, 2016 is likely to remain the hottest year on record, but 2017 is expected to join 2015 as the second or third hottest year.
The years 2013 to 2017 are likely to be the hottest five-year period on record.
Globally, sea surface temperatures in 2017 are on track to be among the three highest on record.
Major, high-impact hurricanes battered the US, with Harvey in August, followed by Irma and Maria in September.
Ophelia reached major hurricane status more than 600 miles further north-east than any previous North Atlantic hurricane and caused significant damage in Ireland.
While there is no clear evidence climate change is making hurricanes such as Harvey more or less frequent, it is likely human-induced global warming is making rainfall more intense and rising sea levels worsens storm surges, the WMO said.
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