The World Meteorological Organization’s “Statement on the State of the Climate 2019” makes for sobering reading

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Gepubliceerd op 24 maart 2020

The report brings together the latest science on climate change indicators such as temperature, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the oceans.

“Sea levels are rising at an increasing pace, through greater warming of the oceans, on the surface and in the depths, and through the enhanced melting of Greenland’s ice and of glaciers, exposing coastal areas and islands to a greater risk of flooding and the submersion of low-lying areas,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas says in the report.

In fact, the report found that, in 2019, the global mean sea level was the highest since the high-precision satellite altimetry data record began:

As the ocean warms, it expands and sea levels rise. This rise is further increased by the melting of ice on land, which then flows into the sea. Sea level has increased throughout the altimeter record, but recently sea level has risen at a higher rate due partly to increased melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. In 2019, the global mean sea level reached its highest value since the beginning of the high-precision altimetry record (January 1993).

WMO Statement on the State of the Climate 2019, p5.

The high-precision altimetry record began with the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission, a joint French/American mission that has been maintained ever since through the Jason-1, -2 and -3 missions and, soon, Sentinel-6, with more space agencies contributing to their development and operations.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on governments, civil society and individuals to work together to address what he called “the defining challenge of our time”.

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