For many years now scientists have warned of global warming and its effects on the environment. These effects are beginning to unfold with the entire planet experiencing changing weather patterns. The rise of the El Niño phenomenon in the past century is one example. This climatic phenomenon has led global temperatures to reach levels unprecedented in human history. The Met Office of the UK together with NASA and NOAA from the United States conducted a study in 2016 and released shocking findings. According to the three organizations, 16 of the 17 warmest years in recorded history have all been from the 21st century.
Carbon Dioxide Levels High
According to the Guardian the data from The Met Office has shown that 2016 was the warmest year since direct temperature measurements were first recorded in 1880, a record set for the third year in a row. Many regions in the world are experiencing weather extremes that have not been experienced for hundreds or even thousands of years. Records from NASA show that the earth has not had levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as high as they are today in the last 4 million years.
The United Kingdom Sees the Warmest Winter Since 1910
The United Kingdom is an excellent example. According to the State of UK Climate, an annual climate report from The Met Office, in 2016 England and Wales experienced the warmest winters the two countries have ever gone through since 1910. The report showed that over the last ten years, the air frost number in the UK has dropped by 7% while the number of ground frost had dropped by 9% with the air frosts numbers being compared to the average number between 1981 and 2010. The report also showed that the winter of 2016 had the lowest snowfall since 1959 and the year was also the first time in 57 years when the snow depth in winter was less than 20cm.
Increased Temperature Linked to Increased Rainfall
The increased atmospheric temperature also meant that the warm air carried more water vapor leading to increased rainfall, a fact also established by the Met Office Report with the 2016 winter being the second-wettest in history behind the 2014 winter. Several regions in the UK such as Lancashire and Cumbria also experienced floods as a testament to this increased precipitation. The wet winter was also compounded by Storm Desmond which poured 13.4 inches of rain in the Cumbria region. Scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and Oxford University established that global warming was primarily responsible for the storm’s development.
Benjamin Elisha Sawe is a writer based in Kenya. He holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi.