The World Meteorological Organization says sea levels are hitting new highs. 

Record atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated accumulated heat have propelled the planet into uncharted territory, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The past seven years are on track to be the seven warmest on record, according to the provisional WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 report, based on data for the first nine months of 2021. 

A temporary cooling “La Niña” event early in the year means that 2021 is expected to be “only” the fifth to seventh warmest year on record, but this does not negate or reverse the long-term trend of rising temperatures.

Global sea level rise accelerated since 2013 to a new high in 2021, with continued ocean warming and ocean acidification.

The report combines input from multiple United Nations agencies, national meteorological and hydrological services and scientific experts. 

It highlights impacts on food security and population displacement, harming crucial ecosystems and undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our planet is changing before our eyes,” says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

“From the ocean depths to mountain tops, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events, ecosystems and communities around the globe are being devastated. COP26 must be a turning point for people and the planet.

“Scientists are clear on the facts.  Now leaders need to be just as clear in their actions. The door is open; the solutions are there. 

“COP26 must be a turning point. We must act now – with ambition and solidarity – to safeguard our future and save humanity.”

“It rained – rather than snowed - for the first time on record at the peak of the Greenland ice sheet. Canadian glaciers suffered rapid melting,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas.

“A heatwave in Canada and adjacent parts of the USA pushed temperatures to nearly 50°C in a village in British Columbia. Death Valley, California reached 54.4 °C during one of multiple heatwaves in the southwestern USA, whilst many parts of the Mediterranean experienced record temperatures. 

“The exceptional heat was often accompanied by devastating fires. 

“Months’ worth of rainfall fell in the space of hours in China and parts of Europe saw severe flooding, leading to dozens of casualties and billions in economic losses. 

“A second successive year of drought in sub-tropical South America reduced the flow of mighty river basins and hit agriculture, transport and energy production.

“Extreme events are the new norm,” said Professor Taalas. 

“There is mounting scientific evidence that some of these bear the footprint of human-induced climate change.

“At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

“COP26 is a make-or-break opportunity to put us back on track.”

More details are accessible here.