A United Nations agency has predicted that the planet’s recent streak of record-setting hot years will reach a new threshold this year.
The World Meteorological Organization also noted in the July 21 statement that the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has reached “new highs.”
The current level of CO2 in the atmosphere exceeds 400 parts per million, a concentration not known on Earth since the Pliocene epoch, which ended about 1.8 million years ago.
In June the average concentration reached 407 parts per million, which was 4 ppm greater than in June 2015.
A WMO official pointed to the trend as a reason to emphasize public policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“This underlines more starkly than ever the need to approve and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change, and to speed up the shift to low carbon economies and renewable energy,” Petteri Taalas, the agency’s secretary-general, said.
The WMO statement highlighted a streak of record-setting hot months in its prediction.
NOAA also said that June was the 14th consecutive month to set a heat record.
“Another month, another record,” Taalas said. “And another. And another. Decades-long trends of climate change are reaching new climaxes, fueled by the strong 2015/2016 El Niño.”
WMO also pointed to reduced Arctic sea ice during summer months, increased precipitation in some regions, and widespread bleaching of coral reefs as indicators of the climate trend that is likely to put 2016 in the record books.