The world is changing, and the latest report from the WMO published on April 21, 2023, tells us just how much. From droughts to floods, heatwaves to rising sea levels, the report highlights the ongoing impact of climate change on our planet. But don’t let the sheer volume of information overwhelm you. We’ve broken it down into five key takeaways that you need to know.
1. The Earth is getting hotter, and greenhouse gas emissions are to blame.
The years 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest on record, and global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15°C above the 1850-1900 average. Concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, have also reached record highs. This means we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions if we want to slow down the rate of global warming.
2. Melting glaciers and rising sea levels are causing concern.
The melting of glaciers and ice sheets is contributing to sea level rise, which reached a new record high in 2022. The loss of ice from glaciers alone over the period 1993-2019 was equivalent to the water volume of 75 lakes the size of Lac Leman. This means we need to take action to reduce our carbon footprint and limit our impact on the environment.
3. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent.
Droughts, floods, and heatwaves are affecting communities around the world, driving food insecurity, boosting mass migration, and causing billions of dollars in losses. In East Africa, drought has been ongoing for five consecutive wet seasons, and rainfall in Pakistan led to extensive flooding, with over 1,700 deaths and $30 billion in damages.
4. Ocean warming is posing a risk to marine ecosystems.
Around 90% of the energy trapped in the climate system by greenhouse gases goes into the ocean, causing ocean heat content to reach a new record high in 2022. This poses a risk to marine ecosystems, and we need to take steps to reduce our impact on the environment.
5. We have the tools and knowledge to make a difference.
While the report highlights the severity of the climate crisis, it also emphasizes that we have the tools and knowledge to make a difference. We need to accelerate our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in adaptation and resilience measures, and provide early warning services to communities that are at risk of extreme weather events.
In conclusion, the latest report from the WMO underscores the urgency of taking action to address the climate crisis. By understanding the impact of climate change on our planet and taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint, we can make a positive difference for future generations.