Surprise! The earth is getting hotter and drier, we are experiencing more floods and storms, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and atmospheric CO2 is on the rise!
The American Meteorological Society’s State of the Climate 2015 report confirms modern climate science predictions that our planet and its atmosphere are experiencing significant changes, and it looks like the trends will continue.
Its important to note that El Niño heightened extreme climate conditions, though researchers suggest general prediction of continued warming and increased climatic shocks and pressures are still robust.
CO2 on the Rise
In 2015, the Mauna Loa, Hawaii atmospheric CO2 monitoring station recorded the warming gas at levels greater than 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history. The global average that year reached over 399 ppm, and it has since surpassed the 400 mark.
Heat was matched with widespread drought conditions and experts noted 14 percent of the planet experienced “severe” drought in 2015, compared with eight percent the year before.
On the other end of the spectrum, the combination of climate trends and El Niño brought torrential rains around the world and extreme floods in parts of South America, as well as the wettest month in the United States’ 121-year recorded history.
Powerful cyclones and storms hit Earth’s shores with 101-recorded tropical storms in 2015, significantly above the 82-storm average observed from 1981-2010.
Ice Sheets Are Melting and Sea Level Is Rising
Ocean temperatures are rising and our planet’s glaciers and ice sheets are melting. The Greenland Ice Sheet has the capability to increase sea levels by an estimated seven meters, losing over half of its surface ice for the first time since the extreme melt of 2012. Unsurprisingly, 2015 also showcased record sea level rise.
This report confirms the ever-pressing need to take aggressive steps to limit our greenhouse gas emissions and encourage our governments and leaders to follow through with their commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement to limit warming to no more than two degrees C.