Oceans are hotter, higher and more acidic, climate report warns

  div classBodysc17zpet90 cdBBJodivpBy Jake Springp

  pReuters The worlds oceans grew to their warmest and most acidic levels on record last year, the World Meteorological Organization WMO said on Wednesday, as United Nations officials warned that war in Ukraine threatened global climate commitments.pdivdivdiv classBodysc17zpet90 cdBBJodiv

  pOceans saw the most striking extremes as the WMO detailed a range of turmoil wrought by climate change in its annual “State of the Global Climate” report. It said melting ice sheets had helped push sea levels to new heights in 2021.p

  p“Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by humaninduced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come,” said WMO SecretaryGeneral Petteri Taalas in a statement.p

  pThe report follows the latest U.N. climate assessment, which warned that humanity must drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions or face increasingly catastrophic changes to the worlds climate.p

  pTaalas told reporters there was scant airtime for climate challenges as other crises, such as the COVID19 pandemic and war in Ukraine, grabbed headlines.p

  pSelwin Hart, U.N. SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterress special adviser on climate action, criticised countries reneging on climate commitments due to the conflict, which has pushed up energy prices and prompted European nations to seek to replace Russia as an energy supplier.p


  p“We are … seeing many choices being made by many major economies which, quite frankly, have the potential to lock in a highcarbon, highpolluting future and will place our climate goals at risk,” Hart told reporters.p

  pOn Tuesday, global equity index giant MSCI warned that the world faces a dangerous increase in greenhouse gases if Russian gas is replaced with coal.p

  pThe WMO report said levels of climatewarming carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere in 2021 surpassed previous records.p

  pGlobally, the average temperature last year was 1.11 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average – as the world edges closer to the 1.5C threshold beyond which the effects of warming are expected to become drastic.p

  p“It is just a matter of time before we see another warmest year on record,” Taalas said.p

  pOceans bear much of the brunt of the warming and emissions. The bodies of water absorb around 90 of the Earths accumulated heat and 23 of the carbon dioxide emissions from human activity.p

  pThe ocean has warmed markedly faster in the last 20 years, hitting a new high in 2021, and is expected to become even warmer, the report said. That change would likely take centuries or millennia to reverse, it noted. p

  pThe ocean is also now its most acidic in at least 26,000 years as it absorbs and reacts with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.p

  pSea level has risen 4.5 cm 1.8 inches in the last decade, with the annual increase from 2013 to 2021 more than double what it was from 1993 to 2002.p

  pThe WMO also listed individual extreme heatwaves, wildfires, floods and other climatelinked disasters around the world, noting reports of more than 100 billion in damages.p

  p Reporting by Jake Spring and Rachel More Editing by Katy Daigle and Janet Lawrencep

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