The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its provisional Statement on the State of the Climate this week, estimating that 2017 is likely to be one of the warmest years for global average surface temperature, with many high-impact events including catastrophic hurricanes, floods, heatwaves and droughts. The Statement was released on the opening day of the United Nations climate change conference in Bonn.
The WMO bases its temperature assessment on global mean surface temperature datasets for January – September from several organisations, including the HadCRUT4 dataset compiled by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The average global temperature from January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era.
The Met Office’s latest estimate for 2017 suggests it will be the second or third warmest (with 2016 remaining top and 2015 second or third) in a record stretching back to 1850. The 2017 figure is important because, although not a record-breaker, it will be the warmest year in the series which hasn’t been influenced by an El Niño.
The Met Office’s Professor Adam Scaife FRMetS stated: “The global mean surface temperature this year looks likely to agree with the prediction we made at the end of last year that 2017 would be very warm but was unlikely to exceed the record temperature of 2015 and 2016.”
The Statement also highlighted that long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, sea level rise and ocean acidification continue “unabated”, with Arctic sea ice coverage remaining below average and the previously stable Antarctic sea ice extent at or near a record low.