The World Meteorological Organization reports 2017 is on track to be among the three hottest years on record, just behind the two preceding years.
While 2017 may only emerge as the third warmest year on record, scientists predict it will beat out the competition for warmest year without a warming El Nino. These record setting years concern those who see this as a sure sign that climate change is happening at a quickened pace.
The WMO says the overall long-term warming trend since the late 1970s is worrying and cannot be ignored. The United Nations agency says rising temperatures are ushering in more extreme weather with huge socioeconomic impact.
WMO spokeswoman Claire Nullis says the warming conditions prevailing over both the Arctic and the Antarctic are very alarming. She says the Arctic is warming at about twice the rate of the global temperature increase.
“We are very, very concerned about the rate of warming in the Arctic," she said. "There was an Arctic Report Card released last week. It said while 2017 saw fewer records shattered than in 2016, the Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago.”
The Arctic Report Card is a peer-reviewed report that brings together the work of 85 scientists from 12 nations.
WMO notes warmer than average temperatures dominated across much of the world’s land and ocean surfaces during November. It says the most notable temperature rises were across the Northern Hemisphere.
For example, it reports temperatures in northern Canada and northwestern Alaska were two degrees centigrade above the average, indicating a very pronounced warming at the Arctic.