In a special report for the COP21 conference in Paris, the British MET office reports that the worldwide average temperature in 2015 is near a full degree C above pre-industrial levels. This means that humanity has, for the first time, experienced a year where the average temperature is about one half of the allowable global warming that can occur before extreme impacts are expected to occur.
The MET office’s report, presented in a brochure and online, is clear about the cause of the observed trend, stating: “This year’s record temperature is partly due to the influence of a strong El Niño event taking place in the Pacific, but the long-term warming trend due to human influence is by far the dominant cause.”
Worryingly, the MET also observes that “A recent new analysis shows that the much-discussed “slow-down” in the rate of global temperature rise is no longer as prominent in the observations.”
The British MET office is the equivalent of the USA’s NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It tracks data that consistently show that climate patterns and weather events have trended in significant alignment with scientifically accepted models of climate change. Among a wealth of data offered in the MET report are these data points:
-“In northern China, the spring of 2014 was the third warmest since reliable records began in the late 1950s; 2.2 °C higher than the 1961-90 average.”
– “A study in 2004 on the severe heatwave in western and central Europe in summer 2003 showed that human influence at least doubled the odds of such an event.”
– [In another reference to the record breaking heat event in Europe in 2003 that killed more than twenty thousand people, the MET states] “Observations of the summer temperature across Europe over the years since 2003 suggest that we are continuing along a track where, by the 2040s, more than half of summers are projected to be warmer than that seen in 2003 if emissions of greenhouse gases continue on their current rising path.”
– [Referring to heavy rainfall in the UK, the report states:] “Anthropogenic climate change has made extreme rainfall over 10 consecutive winter days around seven times more likely.”
– “The chances of a colder than average winter (according to 1961-90 long-term averages) are about 20% by 2020, but they drop to 4% by 2100.”
The MET report offers specific data that reveals the “death by a thousand cuts” nature of climate change (and that helps make political arguments on the issue so contentious). The report also reviews the impacts on food security as well as dangerous feed-back mechanisms due to carbon releases from wetlands and permafrost as temperatures warm.
The MET’s complete report can be viewed or downloaded here.