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WMO: 2017 remains on track to be among 3 hottest years on record

Datum 20.12.2017

The 2017 global land and ocean temperature will likely end among the three warmest years on record, and is expected to be the warmest year without a warming El Niño, reports World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The first 11 months of the year were the third warmest on record, behind 2016 and 2015, the past meteorological year (December 2016 to November 2017) is the second warmest on record. Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage remain at near record lows.

Surface air temperature anomaly for December 2016 to November 2017Surface air temperature anomaly for the 12-month period December 2016 to November 2017 relative to the average for 1981-2010. Source: ERA-Interim. Quelle: ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service

“What is more important than the ranking of an individual year is the overall, long-term trend of warming since the late 1970s, and especially this century,” said WMO senior scientist Omar Baddour. “Along with rising temperatures, we are seeing more extreme weather with huge socio-economic impacts,” he said.

WMO will combine datasets from NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NASA GISS (NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies), and the Met Office Hadley Centre and Climatic Research Unit (UK) for a consolidated temperature ranking for 2017. WMO uses ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts) and Japan Meteorological Agency reanalyses with a much wider range of input data, including measurements from satellites. They provide better coverage of regions, such as polar regions, where observations are historically sparse.

The consolidated global figure harmonizes the datasets, which show different results because of the way they represent the relatively warm conditions that have predominated over both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Differences in estimates of sea-surface temperature are a further factor.

Arctic warming

As an indication of swift regional climate change in and near the Arctic, the average temperature observed at the weather station at Utqiaġvik has now changed so rapidly that it triggered an algorithm designed to detect artificial changes in a station’s instrumentation or environment and disqualified itself from the NCEI Alaskan temperature analysis.

The omission was noticed by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), which realized that data from Utqiaġvik, Alaska, had been missing for all of 2017 and the last few months of 2016.

Utqiaġvik (pronounced OOT-ki-aag'-vik) sits near Point Barrow, the northernmost point in America, on the Arctic Coast of northern Alaska. Now recognized by its Iñupiat place name, it is still commonly known as “Barrow".

Elsewhere in the Arctic, a separate analysis from the ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service said that November’s temperature was more than 6°C above average in parts of Svalbard, as it was in October.

Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase.

A NOAA-sponsored report shows that the warming trend transforming the Arctic persisted in 2017, resulting in the second warmest air temperatures, above average ocean temperatures, loss of sea ice, and a range of human, ocean and ecosystem effects.

Now in its 12th year, the Arctic Report Card, is a peer-reviewed report that brings together the work of 85 scientists from 12 nations. “While 2017 saw fewer records shattered than in 2016, the Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago,” said the Arctic report card.

A separate report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), said that last year’s record global average temperatures, extreme heat over Asia, and unusually warm waters in the Bering Sea would not have been possible without human-caused climate change.

Read this and more at the website of the World Meteorological Organisation WMO