Feeling like it’s been hotter than ever this year?
You’re not imagining things, according to the United Nations weather agency, which said on Monday that 2016 is “very likely” to be the hottest year on record.
“Long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking,” the World Meteorological Organization said in a statement. “Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase to new records.”
Arctic sea ice levels remain very low, the agency said, and “there was significant and very early melting of the Greenland ice sheet.”
If 2016 does indeed set a new record, 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in this century, the WMO said.
Timing is key
Several reports published this year by different government agencies in the United States and around the world have warned that 2016 was on pace to be the hottest year yet.
But this latest report comes at a crucial time.
Environmentalists, scientists and world leaders are meeting in Morocco for the latest round of climate talks.
And many of them are bracing for a fight after the United States elected Donald Trump as its new president. Trump has described climate change as a hoax.
Now, many wonder if the United States will back out of the international climate deal reached in Paris last year, as Trump has promised?
This much is clear: With Trump heading for the White House, political debates over the issue are very unlikely to cool down any time soon.