Picture: DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Picture: DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

The years between 2011 and 2015 were the five hottest on record, a recent study by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has found.

The UN body published its detailed analysis of the global climate on Tuesday, showcasing the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events.

The record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice and northern hemisphere snow cover.

All these climate-change indicators confirmed the long-term warming trend caused by greenhouse gases.

According the report carbon dioxide reached the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time in 2015.

The Global Climate 2011-2015 WMO report, which was submitted to the UN climate change conference, also looked at whether human-induced climate change was directly linked to individual extreme events.

WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said the Paris Agreement was focused on limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts towards 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

"This report confirms that the average temperature in 2015 had already reached the 1°C mark. We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016," said Taalas.

Taalas said the effects of climate change had been consistently visible on the global scale since the 1980s: rising global temperature, both over land and in the ocean; sea-level rise; and the widespread melting of ice. He said it had increased the risks of extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, record rainfall and damaging floods.

The report highlighted some of the high-impact events. These included the East African drought in 2010-2012, which caused an estimated 258,000 deaths; the 2013-2015 Southern African drought; flooding in Southeast Asia in 2011 that killed 800 people; and caused more than $40bn in economic losses; heatwaves in India and Pakistan in 2015, which claimed more than 4,100 lives; Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which caused $67bn in economic losses in the US; and Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 7,800 people in the Philippines in 2013.

© BDlive 2016

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