The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released its "Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2016", an annual detailed analysis of the state of the world’s climate. The WMO remarked that "The year 2016 made history, with a record global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat," and that these "Extreme weather and climate conditions have continued into 2017."

"This report confirms that the year 2016 was the warmest on record – a remarkable 1.1ºC above the pre-industrial period, which is 0.06ºC above the previous record set in 2015. This increase in global temperature is consistent with other changes occurring in the climate system," explains WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

"Globally averaged sea-surface temperatures were also the warmest on record, global sea-levels continued to rise, and Arctic sea-ice extent was well below average for most of the year."

Although WMO’s final figures for 2016’s CO2 levels won’t be available until later this year, other researchers are commenting on what is known about their levels. "The CO2 rise in 2016 was the fastest on record – 3.4ppm (parts per million) per year – because the El Niño weakened the tropical carbon sink and gave the ongoing CO2 rise an extra kick on top of the effect of human emissions," explains the Met Office Hadley Centre’s Prof Richard Betts.

"As a result, 2016 became the first year in which CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa remained above 400ppm all year round."

The WMO report also discussed the climate’s effect on individual extreme weather events, including severe droughts experienced by southern and eastern Africa, and Central America, with severe flooding affecting eastern and southern Asia. Hurricane Matthew, having lingered over the warm waters of the Caribbean, was responsible for more than $15 billion in damage, and killed 546 people in Haiti alone. 

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