The climate crisis is advancing unabated in all parts of the planet and 2022 has been one more step. An alarming reality that has been verified “from the tops of the mountains to the depths of the oceans”, according to the World Meteorological Organization in its most recent evaluation.
The sea temperature is out of the records: “We are entering unknown territory”
All the symptoms with which the Earth is warning about climate change showed negative data last year. Excessive heat, rise in sea level, ocean acidification, sea temperature, worsening droughts or very violent storms. All.
The feeling that citizens may have had that 2022 was torrid has been corroborated by thermometers throughout the planet. The global average temperature was 1.15 ºC higher than that of pre-industrial times. That indicates that the goal of the Paris Agreement against climate change of limiting extra warming to 1.5ºC in 2100 is getting further and further away.
A few days ago, the satellites of the US Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) announced that the temperature in the oceans marked a record. It must be taken into account that 90% of the extra heat that is trapped on Earth by greenhouse gases is absorbed by the sea. And in 2022 the largest amount retained in the waters has been measured.
From course to course, the oceans swallow more and more heat. That is why the temperature of the water rises and rises. And it is noticed not only by bathers, but by the entire marine ecosystem, even at great depths. In addition to the heat, the oceans also keep a lot of the CO2 released by human activities and that makes it more acidic. It is at the highest level for 26,000 years.
“Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate continues to change, while populations around the world continue to be severely affected by extreme weather and climate events,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
This assessment comes just one day after the Copernicus Climate Service explained “major disturbances” already taking hold in Europe, the fastest warming continent.
Now, the WMO expands the panorama and reveals the changes on a planetary scale that the accumulation in the atmosphere of gases such as CO2, methane or nitrous oxide emanating, above all, from human activities, are causing in the continental masses , oceans and air.
An indicator that, at the time, was the symbol of the climate crisis is the rise in average sea level. With worsening heat waves, this sneak climate seems to have lost prominence, but the elevation has not stopped. “In 2022 it reached another new maximum since satellite records are available,” reflects the report.
If the sea level rose at a rate of just over two millimeters a year between 1993 and 2002, it has now doubled that rate and is rising by more than 4.5 mm a year between 2013 and 2022. Some 300 million people live especially vulnerable to this climb.
In daily life
All this accumulation of data, measurements and records do not remain as study material for scientists but rather affects the daily life of many people.
Torrential rains in July and August in Pakistan caused flooding that forced the displacement of 33 million people. “It was calculated that the total value of the damages and economic losses amounted to 30,000 million dollars” – some 27,000 million euros.
Throughout 2022, more than a million people were displaced in Somalia due to the effects of the drought and 60,000 left the country. In Ethiopia, the displaced numbered more than half a million.
Nobody is safe. Not even the richest countries: heat waves in Europe have been attributed 15,000 deaths in 2022 alone. The most affected? Germany, United Kingdom, France, Portugal and… Spain.