State of the Global Climate 2022 Report: WMO


    In News

    • The State of the Global Climate 2022 report has been released by the World Meteorological Organization.

    About the Report

    • It focuses on key climate indicators – greenhouse gases, temperatures, sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification, sea ice and glaciers. It also highlights the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
    • It shows the planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. 

    Major Highlights of the Report

    • Increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions: Global GHGs emissions continued to increase in 2022. Carbon dioxide is at 149% of pre-industrial levels, Methane is at 262% of pre-industrial levels, Nitrous oxide is at 124% of pre-industrial levels.
      • The annual increase of methane was 18 ppb from 2020 to 2021. This is the largest increase on record.
    • High Global Mean Temperature: In 2022, the planet was 1.15 ± 0.13 °C warmer than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) average, making the last 8 years the warmest on record.
      • Despite cooling  La Niña conditions , 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year. 
    • Above Normal Precipitation: In 2022, large areas with above normal precipitation included large parts of Asia and the south-west Pacific, areas of northern South America and the Caribbean, the eastern Sahel region, parts of southern Africa, Sudan, and eastern Europe.
      • Meanwhile, regions with rainfall deficits included western and central Europe, northwest Africa, parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Himalayas, Eastern Africa and Madagascar, central and southern South America, and central and western North America.
    • Ocean Heat Content: As GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures warm on land and in the ocean.  It is expected that the ocean will continue to warm well into the future – a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales.
      • In 2022, 58 percent of the ocean surface suffered at least one marine heatwave event and 25 per cent of the surface experienced at least one marine cold spell.
    • Rise in Sea Level: In 2022, global mean sea level continued to rise. The sea has risen approximately 3.4 ± 0.3 mm per year over the past 30 years .
    • Ocean Acidification: Global mean ocean pH has been steadily declining at rates not seen for at least the past 26,000 years.
    • Sea Ice Extent: Arctic sea-ice extent was below the long-term average for most of the year. 
      • Antarctic sea-ice extent dropped to the lowest level and almost 1 million km 2  below the long-term (1991-2020) mean. The total extent of Antarctic sea ice continued to be below average.
      • The Greenland Ice Sheet ended with a negative total mass balance for the 26th year in a row. Summit Station, the highest point in Greenland, had its warmest September and experienced melting for the first time. Heavy rain fell on the ice sheet for the first time.
    • Glacier Mass Balance: The glaciers have been losing mass nearly every year.
      • Exceptional Melt in Swiss Alps: In Switzerland 6% of the glacier ice volume was lost between 2021 and 2022. 
      • For the first time in history, no snow outlasted the summer season even at the very highest measurement sites and therefore no accumulation of fresh ice occurred.
    • Extreme Events: Rising global temperatures have contributed to more frequent and severe extreme weather events around the world, including cold and heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms.

    Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

    • Drought gripped East Africa: Rainfall has been below-average in five consecutive wet seasons, the longest such sequence in 40 years. As of January 2023, it was estimated that over 20 million people faced acute food insecurity across the region, under the effects of the drought and other shocks.
    • Record breaking rain: In July and August led to extensive flooding in Pakistan. There were over 1 700 deaths, and 33 million people were affected, while almost 8 million people were displaced. Total damage and economic losses were assessed at US$ 30 billion.
    • Record breaking heatwaves: It affected Europe during the summer. In some areas, extreme heat was coupled with exceptionally dry conditions. Excess deaths associated with the heat in Europe exceeded 15 000 in total across Spain, Germany, the UK, France, and Portugal.
      • China had its most extensive and long-lasting heatwave since national records began resulting in the hottest summer on record by a margin of more than 0.5 °C. 
    • Food insecurity: As of 2021, 2.3 billion people faced food insecurity, of which 924 million people faced severe food insecurity. Projections estimated 767.9 million people facing undernourishment in 2021, 9.8% of the global population. Half of these are in Asia and one third in Africa.
      • Heatwaves in the 2022 pre-monsoon season in India and Pakistan caused a decline in crop yields. This, combined with the banning of wheat exports and restrictions on rice exports in India after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, threatened the availability, access, and stability of staple foods within international food markets and posed high risks to countries already affected by shortages of staple foods.
    • Population Displacement: In Somalia, almost 1.2 million people became internally displaced by the catastrophic impacts of drought on pastoral and farming livelihoods and hunger during the year. Concurrently, Somalia was hosting almost 35 000 refugees and asylum seekers in drought-affected areas. A further 512 000 internal displacements associated with drought were recorded in Ethiopia.
      • The flooding in Pakistan affected some 33 million people, including about 800 000 Afghan refugees hosted in affected districts around 8 million people have been internally displaced by the floods. 
    • Environment: Climate change has important consequences for ecosystems and the environment. For example, a recent assessment focusing on the unique high-elevation area around the Tibetan Plateau, the largest storehouse of snow and ice outside the Arctic and Antarctic, found that global warming is causing the temperate zone to expand.
      • Climate change is also affecting recurring events in nature, such as flowering of cherry blossoms in Japan has been documented since AD 801 and has shifted to earlier dates since the late nineteenth century. In 2021, the full flowering date was 26 March, the earliest recorded in over 1200 years. 
    • Ecosystems: Ecosystems – including terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems – and the services they provide, are affected by the changing climate and some are more vulnerable than others.
      • Ecosystems are degrading at an unprecedented rate, limiting their ability to support human well-being and harming their adaptive capacity to build resilience.

    Suggestions as per the Report

    • Adaptation: Early Warning Systems allow people to know hazardous weather is on its way, and informs how governments, communities and individuals can act to minimize the impending impacts.
      • However, even if adaptation is improved, the climate will continue to change unless the underlying drivers are addressed.
      • Without immediate and deep greenhouse gases emissions reductions across all sectors and regions, it will be impossible to keep warming below 1.5° C.

    • Mitigation: It is urgent to mitigate, or reduce, greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels wherever possible. 
      • Transitioning to renewable energy sources is a critically important part of reducing emissions. 

    About World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 

    • It is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories. 
    • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the roots of which were planted at the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress. 
    • It was established by the ratification of the WMO Convention in 1950, WMO became the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
    • The Secretariat, headquartered in Geneva, is headed by the Secretary-General.
    • Its  supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress.