Environment Counts | WMO reports 2016 hottest year on record :
According to the latest report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2016 is expected to be the hottest year on record. The WMO estimates that 2016â€™s global temperatures are 1.2Â° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase to new records. Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period. In parts of Arctic Russia around the Ob River estuary and Novaya Zemyla, temperatures were 6 Â°C to 7 Â°C above average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3 Â°C above average, and more than 90% of Northern Hemisphere land areas outside the tropics were at least 1 Â°C above average. Temperatures were above average over most ocean areas, and were 1 Â°C or more above average in many parts of the tropical eastern and central Pacific, the eastern tropical Indian Ocean and the Indonesian archipelago, the Tasman Sea, the western subtropical North Atlantic and the far north Pacific. The very warm ocean temperatures contributed to significant coral bleaching in some tropical waters. The areas significantly affected included the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia where coral mortality of up to 50% was reported in northern parts of the Reef north of Lizard Island. Coral bleaching was also reported from Pacific island countries of Fiji and Kiribati.
Global sea levels rose very strongly during the 2015-16 El NiÃ±o, rising about 15 millimetres between November 2014 and February 2016, well above the post-1993 trend of 3 to 3.5 mm per year.
Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase.
Observations from Mauna Loa (Hawaii) and Cape Grim (Australia) indicate the highest concentrations in the instrumental record of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). At Cape Grim, CO2 levels in August averaged 401.42 ppm. Methane levels in August 2016 averaged 1804.8 parts per billion (ppb), whilst N2O levels in August 2016 were 327.9 ppb compared with 327.3 ppb in August 2015. At Mauna Loa, mean weekly concentrations of CO2 as of 23 October were 402.07 ppm.
Arctic sea ice extent has been well below average throughout the year to date. The autumn freeze-up after the September minimum has been much slower than normal; the sea ice extent as of the end of October is the lowest on record for that time of year.
Summer melting on the Greenland ice sheet was substantially above the 1990-2013 average, with especially strong melting in July.
The most damaging wildfire in Canadian history, leading to the countryâ€™s most costly natural disaster, occurred in May. A fire broke out near Fort McMurray in Alberta as temperatures reached 33 Â°C â€“ the highest on record so early in the year -accompanied by strong winds and low humidity. The fire led to the total evacuation of the city and destroyed 2,400 buildings, causing 4 billion CAD (US$3 billion) in insured losses and several billion more in other losses. No deaths were directly caused by the fire. The fire burned an area of about 590,000 hectares before it was declared under control in early July. Provisional WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2016, 14 November 2016