Four crucial indicators on climate change broke their records last year

Four key indicators of how the climate is being altered by human emissions of greenhouse gases broke records last year: the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere, sea level rise, the heat absorbed by the oceans and their acidification. , according to the latest revision of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The sea 'swallows' at a record rate the heat trapped by the greenhouse effect and thus feeds extreme weather episodes

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The conjunction of all these indicators reflects how "human activities are causing changes on a planetary scale in the land, the ocean and the atmosphere", explains the WMO.

one . Greenhouse gas concentration: as more CO2 or methane is released, the gaseous crust in the atmosphere thickens. Having a long life, the gases remain even for hundreds of years, and if more emissions are added, they accumulate. A global high was marked in 2020 and “site-specific data indicates that they continued to increase in 2021,” the report states. That layer is what retains the heat bounced back from the Sun and overheats the planet, altering the global climate.

two . heat in the oceans: "It reached unprecedented levels," warns the Organization. The most superficial layer of the seas, up to 2,000 meters deep, continued to warm up last year "and everything indicates that it will continue". The heat is penetrating towards deeper levels and the data show that this warming has been especially relevant in the last two decades.

3 . More acidic oceans: sea waters retain 23% of the greenhouse gases that are released. That means that, by reacting gas and water, they convert that medium into more acid. This "threats organisms and ecosystem services and, therefore, to food security, tourism and the protection of the coasts", describes the WMO. By lowering the pH of marine waters, in addition, the oceans lose their ability to absorb CO2. It is estimated that the pH in the open sea is already the lowest for 26,000 years.

Four . Sea level: It also broke a record in 2021. It has increased an average of 4.5 millimeters a year between 2013 and 2021, says the Organization that depends on the UN. It is more than double what could be measured in the period 1993-2002. The rise in global sea level in the world "carries important repercussions for hundreds of millions of inhabitants of coastal areas", scientists warn.

In addition to evaluating indicators, the analysis reports how extreme weather events occurred in different parts of the planet. Last year, western North America and the Mediterranean region "experienced exceptional heat waves." The floods, in addition to lives, "caused economic losses valued at 17.7 billion dollars in the Chinese province of Henan and, in mid-July, Western Europe suffered some of the most severe floods on record, whose economic losses they exceeded, only in Germany, the 20 billion dollars”.

Similarly, the drought was especially severe in the Horn of Africa, Canada, the western United States, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. Also in the subtropical region of South America.

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