This week, meteorological bigwigs from around the world meet in Geneva, the home of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), to discuss meteorology and climate change.
Among many things, the WMO is involved in measuring compliance with greenhouse gas emissions using measuring stations around the world.
A report by WMO says that the four years from 2015 to 2018 were the four warmest on record and that the heat contained in the ocean is at a record high. The average global temperature is now 1 degree above pre-industrial levels and we are not on track to meet the climate change targets that could rein in temperature increases, says the report.
A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of global warming estimates emissions cuts to 45% of 2010 levels by 2030 and “net zero” emissions by around 2050 are now needed to avert unstoppable climate change. These targets are more stringent than those previously thought necessary.
In an interview, Peter Binder, the Director General of MeteoSwiss, who is at the meeting, told CNN Money that temperature rises in Switzerland are double the global mean. Rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have added 2 degrees to average Swiss temperatures compared to a global mean rise of 1 degree.
Going forward, Binder expects Switzerland to experience more hot days with higher maximums as periods of heatwaves and drought get longer and more frequent.
MeteoSwiss and the University ETH in Zurich are working together to develop predicted climate changes in Switzerland as the basis for working out how Switzerland might mitigate and adapt to the changes. These will then be used by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to aid political discussions in Bern.
With recent predictions of a 3 to 5 degree rise in temperatures this century, well above the IPCC’s 1.5 degree target, the future of humans on this planet looks grim. However, Binder still thinks we have a chance if we work hard on cutting emissions.
WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018 (in English)