#LockdownClimateChange: Climate reports show world is warming 'worryingly fast'22 April 2020
Two reports on climate change, publshed for Earth Day 2020, have called for urgent action while highlighting the scale of the threat it poses to humanity.
A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports quotes Secretary-General Petteri Taalas arguing that 'we need to show the same determination and unity against climate change as against COVID-19' and act together 'for many generations to come'.
A Copernicus state of the climate report, also released today (22 April) also showed 11 of the 12 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, while 2019 was the warmest year ever in Europe, which is warming faster than the global average.
University of Reading experts have reacted to the reports, as the University launched its #LockdownClimateChange campaign, which asks what lessons can be learnt from the COVID-19 lockdown to help us tackle climate change, now and in the future.
Prof Hannah Cloke, a natural hazards researcher at the University of Reading said:
“Certainly our world is warming worryingly fast. Even looking at the variations in the weather over the last decades, which can be quite big at times, there is an ongoing trend of warming and record breaking weather extremes.
“It is clear that we just don't understand enough about the feedbacks in our earth system. Having datasets like this are vital not only for scientists understanding climate change but also for those living on the threshold of disasters, in places already under threat from tropical cyclones, drought, famine and now COVID-19. We couldn't do this without the significant input from satellites, climate models and serious investment in science.
“In lockdown, sitting on our sofas or our makeshift desks or in many more difficult situations, it would be easy for us to take our eyes off this alarming reality; that 2019 was the warmest year on record for Europe, that November brought us massively more precipitation than normal. And for every decade I have been on this planet it has been getting hotter and hotter and hotter.
“There are already some indicators that some parts of Europe might be heading towards drought conditions this summer.”
Prof Rowan Sutton, Director of Science (Climate) for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), University of Reading, said:
“Europe has indeed been warming significantly faster than the global average. This is for two reasons.
"First, land regions in general are warming faster than the oceans, largely because the greater availability of moisture over the oceans damps the rate of warming.
"Secondly, reductions in specific forms of air pollution ("anthropogenic aerosols") have contributed to the recent warming in Europe, particularly in summer.”