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WMO Climate Change Alarm 2019

Posted on: September 25, 2019






Climate change is the defining challenge of our time.

By the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 (SAGUCAS2019). The SAGUCAS2019 have convened the report United in Science to assemble the key scientific findings of recent work undertaken by major partner organizations in the domain of global climate change research, including the:

  1. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  2. UN Environment
  3. Global Carbon Project
  4. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  5. Future Earth
  6. Earth League
  7. Global Framework for Climate Services.


  1. United in Science is a synthesis of the key findings from several more detailed reports provided by these partners in a transparent envelope. This important document by the United Nations and global partner organizations, prepared under the auspices of the Science Advisory Group of the Climate Action Summit, features the latest critical data and scientific findings on the climate crisis. It shows how our climate is already changing and highlights the far-reaching and dangerous impacts that will unfold for generations to come. Science informs governments in their decision-making and commitments. I urge leaders to heed these facts, unite behind the science and take ambitious, urgent action to halt global heating and set a path towards a safer, more sustainable future for all.
  2. The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 Science Advisory Group called for this High Level Synthesis Report, to assemble the key scientific findings of recent work undertaken by major partner organizations in the domain of global climate change research, including the World Meteorological Organization, UN Environment, Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Future Earth, Earth League and the Global Framework for Climate Services. The Report provides a unified assessment of the state of our Earth system under the increasing influence of anthropogenic climate change, of humanity’s response thus far and of the far-reaching changes that science projects for our global climate in the future. The scientific data and findings presented in the report represent the very latest authoritative information on these topics. It is provided as a scientific contribution to the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, and highlights the urgent need for the development of concrete actions that halt the worst effects of climate change.
  3. The Synthesis Report is an example of the international scientific community’s commitment to strategic collaboration in order to advance the use of scientific evidence in global policy, discourse and action. The Science Advisory Group will remain committed to providing its expertise to support the global community in tackling climate change on the road to COP 25 in Santiago and beyond.
  4. This report has been compiled by the World Meteorological Organization under the auspices of the SAGUCAS2019, to bring together the latest climate science related updates from a group of key global partner organizations – The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), UN Environment (UNEP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Global Carbon Project, Future Earth, Earth League and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The content of each chapter of this report is attributable to published information from the respective organizations. Overall content compilation of this material has been carried out by the World Meteorological Organization.
  5. Warmest five-year period on record: The average global temperature for 2015–2019 is on track to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record. It is currently estimated to be 1.1°Celsius (± 0.1 °C) above pre-industrial (1850–1900) times and 0.20 ±0.08 °C warmer than the global average temperature for 2011–2015. The 2015-2019 five-year average temperatures were the highest on record for large areas of the United States, including Alaska, eastern parts of South America, most of Europe and the Middle East, northern Eurasia, Australia, and areas of Africa south of the Sahara. July 2019 was the hottest month


  6. Sea-level rise is accelerating, sea water is becoming more acidic
    The observed rate of global mean sea-level rise increased from 3.04 millimeters per year (mm/yr) during the period 1997–2006 to approximately 4 mm/yr during the period 2007–2016. The accelerated rate in sea level rise as shown by altimeter satellites is attributed to the increased rate of ocean warming and land ice melt from the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheetsThe ocean absorbs nearly 25% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 thereby helping to alleviate the impacts of climate change on the planet. The absorbed CO2 reacts with seawater and increases the acidity of the ocean. Time series of altimetry-based global mean sea level from January 1993–May 2019. The thin black line is a quadratic function showing the mean sea-level rise acceleration. Data source: European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI) sea-level data until December 2015, extended by data from the Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) as of January 2016 and near realtime Jason-3 as of April 2019. Observations show an overall increase of 26% in ocean acidity since the beginning of the industrial era. The ecological cost to the ocean, however, is high, as the changes in acidity are linked to shifts in other carbonate chemistry parameters, such as the saturation state of aragonite. This process, detrimental to marine life and ocean services, needs to be constantly monitored through sustained ocean observations.
  7. Continued decrease of sea ice 
    The long-term trend over the 1979-2018 period indicates that Arctic summer sea-ice extent has declined at a rate of approximately 12% per decade. In every year from 2015 to 2019, the Arctic average summer minimum and winter maximum sea-ice extent were well below the 1981–2010 average. The four lowest values for winter sea-ice extent occurred in these five years. Summer sea ice in Antarctica reached its lowest and second lowest extent on record in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The second lowest winter extent ever recorded was also experienced in 2017. Most remarkably sea ice extent values for the February minimum (summer) and September maximum (winter) in the period from 2015-2019 have been well below the 1981-2010 average since 2016. This is a sharp contrast with the 2011-2015 period and the long term 1979-2018 values that exhibited increasing trends in both seasons.
  8. Continued decrease land ice mass: Overall, the amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017. The total mass loss from the ice sheet increased from 40 Gigatons (Gt) average per year in 1979–1990 to 252 Gt per year in 2009–2017. Sea level rise contribution from Antarctica averaged 3.6 ± 0.5 mm per decade with a cumulative 14.0 ± 2.0 mm since1979. Most of the ice loss takes place by melting the ice shelves from below, due to incursions of relatively warm ocean water, especially in West Antarctica and to a lesser extent along the Peninsula and in East Antarctica.
  9. Analysis of long-term variations in glacier mass often relies on a set of global reference glaciers, defined as sites with continuous high-quality in situ observations of more than 30 years. Results from these time series are, however, only partly representative for glacier mass changes at the global scale as they are biased to well-accessible regions such as the European Alps, Scandinavia and the Rocky Mountains. Nevertheless, they provide direct information on the year-to-year variability in glacier mass balance in these regions. For the period 2015–2018, data from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) reference glaciers indicate an average specific mass change of − 908 mm water equivalent per year. This depicts a greater mass loss than in all other five-year periods since 1950, including the 2011-2015 period. Warm air from a heatwave in Europe in July 2019 reached Greenland, sending temperature and surface melting to record levels. Screen_Shot_2019-09-19_at_15.33.28
  10. Intense heatwaves and wild fires: The Fire Radiative Power (Gigawats)– a measure of heat output from wildfires shown in June for 2019 (red) and the 2003–2018 average (grey) (Source: Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Services (CAMS)). Number of undernourished people in the world, 2015–2018 (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF and WHO, 2019. Heatwaves were the deadliest meteorological hazard in the 2015–2019 period, affecting all continents and setting many new national temperature records. Summer 2019 saw unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic region. In June alone, these fires emitted 50 megatons (Mt) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is more than was released by Arctic fires in the same month from 2010 to 2018 put together. There were multiple fires in the Amazon rainforest in 2019, in particular in August.  The Fire Radiative Power (Gigawats)– a measure of heat output from wildfires shown in June for 2019 (red) and the 2003–2018 average (grey) (Source: Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Services (CAMS)). Number of undernourished people in the world, 2015–2018 (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF and WHO, 2019 UISTGC4
  11. Costly tropical cyclones. Overall, the largest economic losses were associated with tropical cyclones. The 2018 season was especially active, with the largest number of tropical cyclones of any year in the twenty-first century. All Northern Hemisphere basins experienced above average activity – the Northeast Pacific recorded its largest Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) value ever. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most devastating on record with more than US$ 125 billion in losses associated with Hurricane Harvey alone. Unprecedented back-to-back Indian Ocean tropical cyclones hit Mozambique in March and April 2019.
  12. Food insecurity increasingAccording to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, climate variability and extremes are among the key drivers behind the recent rises in global hunger after a prolonged decline and one of the leading contributors to severe food crises. Climate variability and extremes are negatively affecting all dimensions of food security – food availability, access, utilization and stability. The frequency of drought conditions from 2015–2017 show the impact of the 2015–2016 El Niño on agricultural vegetation. The following map shows that large areas in Africa, parts of central America, Brazil and the Caribbean, as well as Australia and parts of the Near East, experienced a large increase in frequency of drought conditions in 2015–2017 compared to the 14-year average.  UISTGC5


Percentage of time (dekad is a 10-day period) with active vegetation when the Anomaly Hot Spots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) was signaling possible agricultural production anomalies according to NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) for more than 25% of the crop areas in 2015–2017 (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, 2018) 

13. Overall risk of climate-related illness or death increasing: Based on data and analysis from the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 2000 and 2016, the number of people exposed to heatwaves was estimated to have increased by around 125 million. The average length of individual heatwave events was 0.37 days longer, compared to the period between 1986 and 2008, contributing to an increased risk of heat-related illness or deathUISTGC7

14. Gross domestic product is falling in developing countries due to increasing temperatures. The International Monetary Fund found that for a medium and low-income developing country with an annual average temperature of 25 °C, the effect of a 1 °C increase in temperature is a fall in growth by 1.2%. Countries whose economies are projected to be hard hit by an increase in temperature accounted for only about 20% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. But they are home to nearly 60% of the global population, and this is expected to rise to more than 75% by the end of the century.

15. Global Fossil CO2 Emissions. CO​Emissions from fossil fuel use continue to grow by over 1% annually and 2% in 2018 reaching a new high. Growth of coal emissions resumed in 2017.









16. Greenhouse Gas Concentrations: Increases in CO2 concentrations continue to accelerate. Current levels of CO2, CH4 and N2O represent 146%, 257% and 122% respectively of pre-industrial levels (pre-1750)​. 

WMO Logo








17. Emissions Gap: Global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020. Implementing current unconditional NDCs (INDCs) would lead to a global mean temperature rise between   2.9 °C and 3.4 °C by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels, and continuing thereafter. The current level of NDC (INDC) ambition needs to be roughly tripled for emission reduction to be in line with the 2 °C goal and increased five-fold for the 1.5 °C goal. Technically it is still possible to bridge the gap​.







18. IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 & 2019 Special Reports: Limiting temperature to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels would go hand-in-hand with reaching other world goals such as achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty. Climate change puts additional pressure on land and its ability to support and supply food, water, health and wellbeing. At the same time, agriculture, food production, and deforestation are major drivers of climate change​

IPCC logo









19. Climate Insights: Growing climate impacts increase the risk of crossing critical tipping points. There is a growing recognition that climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner than climate assessments indicated even a decade ago. Meeting the Paris Agreement requires immediate and all-inclusive action encompassing deep de-carbonization complemented by ambitious policy measures, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and effort to remove CO2 from the atmosphere​

Future Earth Earth League logo












COMMENT#1: ITEM#5: WARMEST 5-YEAR PERIOD ON RECORD:  The AGW issue is understood only as the effect of rising atmospheric CO2 on a long term warming trend. In that context, the finding that the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 have set a temperature record in terms of annual mean temperature has no interpretation. Also, the inclusion of the year 2019 in this record temperature claim with temperatures for 4 calendar months of 2019 still in the future is not possible. An additional consideration is that the 2015-2016 El Nino event was one of the strongest on record and the 2017 & 2018 La Ninas were exceptionally weak as seen in the chart below provided by Meteorologist Jan Null. It is precisely because of such anomalous temperature events that are unrelated to long term trends that temperature events do not serve as evidence of long term trends and AGW, that is, CO2 driven warming, relates only to long term temperature trends and not to temperature events. Particularly egregious is the inclusion of these ENSO event years in a an assessment of CO2 driven long term warming of AGW climate change. The “warmest 5-year” argument for AGW is therefore irrelevant and possibly motivated by bias and activism and not by objective and unbiased scientific inquiry.

bandicam 2019-07-03 11-47-06-708



Below are three charts depicting altimeter sea level rise data 1993-2018. The first chart plots sea level against time in years along with a first order linear regression line shown in dots. A statistically significant linear trend is seen with an overall average rate of sea level rise estimated at 3.334 mm/year equivalent to a one meter rise in sea level every 300 years. However, some divergences from a purely linear trend are apparent in the regression line both higher and lower. These divergences are made more clear in the second chart that plots the residuals – the difference between the data and the regression line. In terms of the acceleration issue, we would expect to find that the residuals would be mostly negative at the beginning of the series and gradually rise to above the regression line toward the end of the series. But this is not the case. Instead what we find is that there are large positive differences at the beginning and at the end but with negative differences in the middle from 1998-2014. These data do not support sustained acceleration in sea level rise across the time span studied. That conclusion is supported by the third chart that plots 5-year trends in sea level. Here we find that all the trends are positive implying that over this period sea level rises but does not fall. However, the rate of sea level rise declines from 2001 to 2011 and rises thereafter until 2015 but then declines again toward the end from 2015 to 2018. These data do not provide convincing evidence that sea level rise is accelerating. It is also noted that acceleration in sea level rise, though often presented by the WMO and the IPCC as evidence of human cause, does not in itself prove human cause because the additional data relationships needed in that argument are assumed but not provided, possibly because they don’t exist. For example, if acceleration in sea level rise proves human cause by way of fossil fuel emissions, how does one explain rapid acceleration in sea level rise in the Eemian [LINK] ? To prove human cause of sea level rise by way of fossil fuel emissions; and to support the assumption that climate action in the form of reducing fossil fuel emissions will attenuate sea level rise, a relationship between emissions and sea level rise must exist in the data. Such a relationship was presented in Clark, Peter U., et al. “Sea-level commitment as a gauge for climate policy.” Nature Climate Change 8.8 (2018): 653; However, it is shown in a related post [LINK] that the correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative sea level rise presented by Clark et al contains neither time scale nor degrees of freedom. This correlation is spurious and has no interpretation in terms of human cause of the observed gradual late Holocene sea level rise. In a related post we show that when these statistics errors in Clark 2018 are corrected, the correlation relating sea level rise to emissions disappears. No evidence is found in the data that the slow residual sea level rise of the late Holocene can be attributed to fossil fuel emissions or that climate action in the form of reducing fossil fuel emissions will attenuate the rate of sea level rise [LINK] . It should also be noted that a sustained and pressing issue in climate science has been the firmly held belief, particularly since the dramatic collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 that was arbitrarily attributed to AGW, that some kind of Antarctica ice melt event by way of fossil fuel emissions will cause catastrophic sea level rise [LINK] . The catastrophic sea level rise obsession of climate science with Antarctica is puzzling in the context of known sources of geothermal heat and geological activity that control ice melt dynamics of that continent [LINK] . 




There have been significant and catastrophic ocean acidification events by CO2 in the past as recorded in paleo climatology.  However, in these events the source of the carbon dioxide was not the atmosphere but geological and from the ocean itself. No paleoclimate record exists to establish the ability of the atmosphere to acidify the ocean. In terms of relative mass, the ocean is 99.62% and the atmosphere 0.38% of their combined mass. Ocean acidification events of the past are understood in terms of ocean floor and geological sources of carbon and not in terms of atmospheric effects [LINK] . The theory of atmosphere driven ocean acidification is studied with correlation analysis in a related post. No evidence is found to attribute changes in oceanic inorganic carbon to fossil fuel emissions [LINK] . It is likely that the ocean acidification hypothesis entered the climate change narrative by way of the PETM climate change event when extensive and devastating ocean acidification had occurred as described in a related post [LINK] . However, there is no parallel between PETM and AGW that can be used to relate the characteristics of one to those of the other. In the case of ocean acidification in the PETM event, the source of carbon was a monstrous release of geological carbon from the ocean floor or from the mantle. The event caused the ocean to lose all its elemental oxygen by way of carbon oxidation and undergo significant decline in pH. Much of the carbon dioxide was also vented to the atmosphere and that caused atmospheric CO2 to rise precipitously.  But this correspondence of ocean acidification in the presence of rising atmospheric CO2 does not apply to AGW. Whereas PETM started in the ocean and spread to the atmosphere, the AGW event started in the atmosphere and is thought to have spread to the oceans. The evidence presented in a related post  [LINK]  does not support this hypothesis. The effort by climate change scientists to relate all observed changes on the surface of the planet to fossil fuel emissions likely derives from an activism bias to promote fossil fueled catastrophe that corrupts the process of unbiased scientific inquiry in this field [LINK] . 




  1. WMO: Six concerns about AGW impact on polar sea ice extent: (1) From 1979 to 2019, Arctic summer minimum sea ice extent (September) had declined at a rate of 12% per decade; (2) In each of the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, the Arctic summer minimum (September) and winter maximum (March) sea ice extents were lower than the 1981-2010 average; (3) The four lowest values for Arctic winter maximum sea ice extent (March) since 1979 are found in the five most recent years 2015 to 2019; (4) Summer sea ice extent in Antarctica (February) reached its lowest and second lowest extents in 2017 and 2018 respectively; (5) The second lowest winter maximum sea ice extent in Antarctica (September) since 1979 was recorded in 2017. (6) Most remarkably, Antarctic summer minimum (February) and winter maximum (September) sea ice extent in the period 2015-2019 are well below the 1981-2010 average. This surprising result is in sharp contrast with the rising trends for both winter and summer seen in the periods 1979-2018 and 2011-2015.
  2. RESPONSE: The data show that Antarctic sea ice extent is not declining and if anything it is expanding. Sea ice decline is found in the Arctic particularly so in the summer minimum month of September. However, the correlation needed to attribute the decline to global warming is not found in the data either for the summer minimum in September or for the winter maximum in March. Details provided in a related post [LINK] .





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