Two million people got displaced due to extreme weather as of September 2018 and its impact fell on around 62 million people in the same year as per the shocking findings in the Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018 by UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
“The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels,” the WMO wrote in a press release announcing the report on Thursday.
The record high temperature in the land and ocean along with the record sea level rise was witnessed in 2018. The carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere increased from 357 parts per million (ppm) in 1994 to 405.5 ppm in 2017 since the WMO’s first report 25 years ago.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, used the findings while speaking at the launch of the report to call out world leaders to take serious action at the Climate Action Summit he is convening on Sept. 23 in New York.
“Don’t come with a speech, come with a plan,” he said, according to a UN press release. “This is what science says is needed. It is what young people around the globe are rightfully demanding,” he said. School students went on strike from school in 130 countries and more to protest null action on climate change issue two weeks before.
As per the report, among the climate-related disasters, flooding impacted 35 million and more people, the largest in 2018. Hurricanes Florence and Michael killed more than 100 people in the U.S. accounted for around $49 billion in damages. The Super typhoon Mangkhut impacted 2.4 million killing minimum of 134 people mostly in the Philippines.
There was no reversing sign of the extremes recorded for 2018 as per WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“Extreme weather has continued in the early 2019, most recently with Tropical Cyclone Idai, which caused devastating floods and tragic loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It may turn out to be one of the deadliest weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere,” Taalas said in the WMO press release. “Idai made landfall over the city of Beira: a rapidly growing, low-lying city on a coastline vulnerable to storm surges and already facing the consequences of sea level rise. Idai’s victims personify why we need the global agenda on sustainable development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.”
The assistance from UN agencies, national weather and hydrological services and scientists from around the world helped to complete the report. Its key findings are:
Temperature: The fourth warmest year on record was 2018, and the world also witnessed four consecutive warmest years, i.e. 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The average global temperature now reached around one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Ocean Temperature: The new record for ocean heat was set in 2018 in the top 700 meters (approximately 2,297 feet) and top 2,000 meters (about 6,562 feet).
Sea Level Rise: The global mean sea level was around 3.7 millimeters higher compared to 2017 and hit a new record.
Arctic Sea Ice: In January and February’18 Arctic sea ice extent hit record lows, and its maximum extent in the last march was the third lowest in the 1979 to 2018 satellite record.
Food Security: As per the report, whatever progress was made to fight global malnutrition, climate change could reverse that. The number of people suffering from malnutrition increased to 821 million in 2017 partly due to droughts related to El Niño of 2015-2016.
Heat Waves and Wildfires: The average heat wave grew 0.37 days longer than heat waves between 1986 and 2008 and around 125 million more people exposed to heat waves between 2000 and 2016. More than 1,600 people killed in the heat waves and wildfires in the U.S., Japan, and Europe in 2018.