Climate Change

2011-2015: mighty hot five-year period

A study by the World Meteorological Organization analyses this five-year period for a better understanding of multi-year warming trends and extreme events

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 16 November 2016
Effects of climate change are consistently visible in the form of increased global temperature—both over land and deep ocean. Credit: Christopher Michel /  Flicker
Effects of climate change are consistently visible in the form of increased global temperature—both over land and deep ocean. Credit: Christopher Michel /  Flicker Effects of climate change are consistently visible in the form of increased global temperature—both over land and deep ocean. Credit: Christopher Michel / Flicker

Warmest five-year period on record

The period from 2011 to 2015 has been the warmest five-year period on record globally. The average temperature in 2015 had already risen by more than one degree (with 2016 on track to be even warmer) since the pre-industrial period. While there’s a growing fear that 2015's record-breaking temperatures will be normal by 2030, this year has already seen record-breaking heat for nine consecutive months.

The early effects of climate change have been consistently visible in the form of increased global temperature—both over land and deep ocean—sea-level rise and the widespread melting of Arctic ice. A study by the World Meteorological Organization analyses this five-year period for a better understanding of multi-year warming trends and extreme events.

 

According to the study, the period 2011–2015 began with a strong La Nina event and ended with a strong El Nino. The high temperatures in 2015 were influenced by the El Nino event that developed during that year but the primary impact of the 2015–2016 El Nino on annual global temperatures was felt in 2016.

Many of the worst disasters between 2011 and 2015 involved extreme weather and climate. For instance, the drought in 2010-11 led to the famine in the Horn of Africa, which caused more than 250,000 deaths. Besides drought, heat waves and tropical cyclones in South Asia and hurricanes in the US caused huge casualty.

In the midst of all this, the study revealed that the concentration of major long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continued to increase during the period 2011–2015.

GHGs

Atmospheric concentration in 2015

Rate of increase

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

400 parts per million (ppm)

 1.9 to 2.9 ppm

Methane (CH4)

1,845 parts per billion (ppb)

 5 to 9 ppb

nitrous oxide (N2O)

328 ppb

 about 1 ppb

 

As global leaders deliberate on the modalities of Paris Agreement at COP22 taking place in Marrakech, the ulterior objective of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels will guide every decision. The findings of the study will compel the policymakers to reflect on changing climate conditions and strengthen the implementation of the climate deal.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :
Related Stories

India Environment Portal Resources :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.