Climate Crisis: Is it really getting warmer?

Climate has been a big topic in 2019. We are seeing more evidence of our changing climate and of a warming world.

Since industrial revolution more than 100 years ago the amount of man-made green house gases have increase dramatically.

The science of climate changed has now advanced to a point where we can predict that some extreme events are more likely than they were in the past.

What is climate?

The climate is considered to be the average weather over a 30 year period. 30 years is used to average out any extreme events and therefore skew what is considered normal.

Every ten years a new moving average is used to describe climate. The current climate average is from 1981-2010. In 2021 the new climate reference period will be 1991-2020.

Is the UK warmer?

According to the Met Office, 2019 was warmer, wetter and sunnier across the uk than the climate average. It is likely that 2019 will fall into the top 15 warmest, wettest and sunnier years since 1910.

Cloudy skies over fields in East Anglia Credit: Jeanette Hancock

How warm was the last decade?

The last decade was the second warmest and wettest on record. There was also an increase in the number of high temperature records broken. Across Europe and the UK maximum temperature records were broken during an oppressive summary heatwave.

All of this is in line with climate change evidence - an increases in extreme weather events.

Cirrus clouds over Cambridgeshire Credit: Chris Mitchell

What is in store for the next decade?

Climate experts say that we have to make drastic changes to stop the average global temperature from climbing.

195 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have signed the Paris Climate agreement to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally 1.5C (2.7F) by the end of the century compared with pre-industrial times.

Even if the world was to immediately stop polluting and produce zero carbon emissions the Earth's average temperature would still rise resulting in an increase in global temperature.

The challenges for the future are for a co-ordinated global approach while there is still time to tackle the climate crisis.