Paris Climate Change Conference

2015 Likely Warmest Year on Record, Says World Meteorological Organization

Heat waves 10 times more probable due to man-made global warming


Dreamstime: Meryll

The Paris climate conference kicks off on Monday. Delegates from nearly 200 countries are supposed to finalize the details of a universal climate agreement with the aim of keeping future global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius of the pre-industrial average. Not too surprisingly, all kinds of reports and studies have been issued in advance of the confab warning of impending climate chaos as a way to encourage urgency among the climate negotiators. Doing its part, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has now declared that 2015 is likely to be the warmest year in the instrumental record. Some highlights from the WMO press release:

WMO issued its provisional statement on the status of the climate in 2015, and an additional five-year analysis for 2011-2015, to inform negotiations at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. …

The global average surface temperature in 2015 is likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era. This is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). …

A preliminary estimate based on data from January to October shows that the global average surface temperature for 2015 so far was around 0.73 °C above the 1961-1990 average of 14.0°C and approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial 1880-1899 period. …

According to preliminary figures as of the end of September 2015, 2011-15 was the world's warmest five-year period on record, at about 0.57°C (1.01°F) above the average for the standard 1961-90 reference period.


The WMO also found that the increasing frequency of heat waves can be attributed to man-made global warming:

Scientific assessments have found that many extreme events in the 2011-15 period, especially those relating to extreme high temperatures, have had their probabilities over a particular time period substantially increased as a result of human-induced climate change – by a factor of 10 or more in some cases.

Of 79 studies published by Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society between 2011 and 2014, more than half found that anthropogenic climate change contributed to extreme events. The most consistent influence has been on extreme heat, with some studies finding that the probability of the observed event has increased by 10 times or more.

Note: I will be publishing daily dispatches from the second half of the Paris climate change conference beginning on December 7th.