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Drought
Image: Global Water Partnership

2015 saw record-breaking climate change

Writing in the Guardian, Michael Slezak lists nine ways in which climate records were broken in 2015:

  • 2015 was the warmest year on record, “0.76C above the 1961-90 average” (note that commentators no longer use the start of the industrial revolution – 1750 – as this would provide a more alarming temperature rise)
  • Ocean warming broke all records
  • The Arctic ice maximum was the smallest on record (the minimum was the 4th smallest)
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide rose to 397.7ppm – 43 percent above pre-industrial limits and dangerously close to the 400ppm that climate scientists warn could lead to runaway climate change
  • Sea level rise measured on both traditional gauges and by satellite was the highest on record
  • Devastating heatwaves hit several places, with the worst in Southern India killing 2,000 people
  • Extreme rainfall in several areas. “More than 11 months’ worth of rain fell in one day on the west coast of Libya. Marrakech in Morocco received 13 months’ worth in one hour in August”
  • Drought exacerbated forest fires in Indonesia, and resulted in the driest year since 1932 in South Africa
  • Tropical cyclone Patricia, which hit Mexico in October, was the strongest hurricane on record with sustained wind speeds of 346km/h (215mph).

Worse still, Slezak notes that all the indicators are that 2016 is going to be even hotter, with February temperatures far above any previously recorded.  Unless urgent action is taken immediately (which of course it won’t be) a 3 degree rise in global temperature is inevitable.

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