GENEVA (Reuters) – Last year was the second-hottest year since records began, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday, warning that heat was likely to lead to more extreme weather events like the Australian bushfires in 2020 and beyond.
The data from the Geneva-based WMO crunches several datasets including from NASA and the UK Met Office. It showed that the average global temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degree Celsius (34°F) above pre-industrial levels.
“Australia had its hottest, driest year on record in 2019, setting the scene for the massive bushfires which were so devastating to people and property, wildlife, ecosystems and the environment,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
The hottest year on record was in 2016, the WMO said, due to the warming impact of a strong El Nino event.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Hugh Lawson)