Long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking. Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase to new records. Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period, and there was significant and very early melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
Ocean heat was boosted by the El Niño event, contributing to coral reef bleaching, and above-average sea-level rise.
The deadliest event so far in 2016 has been Hurricane Matthew, which was Haiti’s worst humanitarian emergency since the 2010 earthquake. Throughout the year, extreme weather led to considerable socio-economic losses in all regions of the world.
“Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue,” he said.
“In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6°C to 7°C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average. We are used to measuring temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so this is different,” said Mr Taalas.