‘Our climate is changing before our eyes’ – some effects of climate change have reached a ‘point of no return’, scientists warn
MAJOR signs of climate change have hit record levels over the past year, with some reaching the point of no return, scientists warn.
Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification exceeded all previous values.
The records are verified in the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) State of the Global Climate 2021 report, which also confirms that the past seven years have been the warmest on record.
“Our climate is changing before our eyes,” said Professor Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the findings illustrated “the grim litany of humankind’s failure to address climate disruption.”
The report shows that the concentration of greenhouse gases has increased steadily throughout 2021 and again this year, reaching a monthly average of 420.23 parts per million (ppm) in April.
That’s just over 50 percent higher than pre-industrial times and 20 percent higher than the 350 ppm that scientists agree is the maximum safe level.
Sea temperatures also continued to rise and the heat was penetrating deeper, a change the WMO warned was “irreversible on a centennial to millennial time scale.”
Ocean acidification, caused by the uptake of increased concentrations of the key greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, also intensified, making conditions inhospitable to many marine organisms.
Sea level rise accelerated due to faster melting of glaciers and ice sheets, reaching an average increase of 4.5 mm per year from 2013 to 2021, or more than double the rate recorded a decade earlier.
Prof Taalas said there is no known way to undo most of the changes.
“The heat trapped by man-made greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come,” he said.
“Sea-level rise, ocean warming, and acidification will continue for hundreds of years unless means are invented to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
“Some glaciers have reached the point of no return, and this will have long-term implications in a world where more than 2 billion people are already suffering from water stress.”
The report chronicles how extreme weather conditions, described as the everyday “face” of climate change, have brought devastating heat waves, drought, fires and floods to many parts of the world,
“It resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses, took a heavy toll on human life and well-being, and triggered food and water security and displacement shocks that have intensified in 2022,” it said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/our-climate-is-changing-before-our-eyes-some-climate-change-effects-have-hit-point-of-no-return-scientists-warn-41661528.html ‘Our climate is changing before our eyes’ – some effects of climate change have reached a ‘point of no return’, scientists warn