Decade of ‘exceptional’ heat likely to be hottest on record

The last decade has been one of “exceptional” heat around the world, and was almost certainly the hottest on record, while the oceans have also warmed to record levels and grown markedly more acidic, the World Meteorological Organization has said.

Temperatures for the years from 2010 to 2019 were about 1.1C above the average for the pre-industrial period, showing how close the world is coming to the 1.5C of warming that scientists say will cause dramatic impacts, extreme weather and the loss of vital ecosystems.

During the past year, the upper levels of the oceans, measured since the 1950s, have exceeded previous records so far this year, and the ocean experienced about 1.5 months of unusually warm temperatures, with large areas of the north-east Pacific showing severe heatwaves. The Arctic sea ice minimum in September was the third smallest on record. The final version of the report will be published in March.