People, Environment

WMO: El Nino Contributed to 2015 Heat Record

WMO: El Nino Contributed to 2015 Heat RecordWMO: El Nino Contributed to 2015 Heat Record

Last year topped 2014 as the hottest in recorded history, as the El Nino compounded the effects of climate change to wreak havoc on weather patterns around the world, according to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

Global temperatures exceeded the 1961-90 average by 0.76 degree Celsius, the WMO said in an e-mailed statement. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years on record were all this century, the WMO said Monday.

“An exceptionally strong El Nino and global warming caused by greenhouse gases joined forces with dramatic effect on the climate system in 2015,” Petteri Taalas, secretary-general at the WMO, said in the statement. “The power of El Nino will fade in the coming months, but the impacts of human-induced climate change will be with us for many decades.”

The current El Nino is rated as one of the three strongest since 1950 and recent tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean may slow its decline, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said last week, according to Bloomberg.

The world can still reach the UN’s target of limiting temperature gains to 2 degrees Celsius if commitments made during climate change negotiations in Paris are reached, Taalas said. In December, 195 nations endorsed a program that set an ambitious goal to curb temperature increases and set up ways to measure and verify emissions everywhere.

“Climate change will have increasingly negative impacts for at least the next five decades,” he said. “Climate change increases the risk of weather-related disasters which are an obstacle to sustainable development.”