The United Nations is concerned about rising heat in the oceans

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The United Nations (UN) alerted Thursday, 28 March 2019, that the oceans have reached heat records in 2018, fearing risks to marine life in the face of climate change.

In the report published on 28 March on the State of the world's climate, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provides details on the multiplication of "physical manifestations" of climate change. The United Nations reported last February that the 2015-2018 period had been the warmest since the beginning of the meteorological surveys.

In this report, WMO also provides details on the multiplication of "physical manifestations" of climate change, such as extreme weather phenomena. It also details its growing socio-economic impact.

According to WMO, the thermal content of the oceans reached new peaks in 2018 between 0 and 700 m deep (surveys dating back to 1955) and between 0 and 2 000 m (surveys dating back to 2005), "spraying the records of 2017".

The rise in sea level has also continued "at an accelerated pace", reaching a record, according to WMO. This acceleration of the rise in the average sea level is mainly due to the "increased rate of ice loss of the icesheets" (Note: permanent ice or polar caps).

The extent of the Arctic ice floes was much lower than normal throughout 2018, with record declines in January and February. And at the end of 2018 the extent of sea ice, on average daily, was close to the lowest ever observed.

"The data disclosed in this report is very disturbing. The last four years are the hottest ever, and the average surface temperature of the globe in 2018 was about 1 °c higher than pre-industrial values, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the introduction to the Declaration. "It is no longer time to procrastinate," he added.

"Increasing ambitions"

At a press conference in New York, Antonio Guterres warned against the impossibility of reversing the approaching climate trend. The world is "very close" when this is no longer possible, he said, recalling that he is organising a Summit in September at the United Nations to intensify action. He said he told the world's leaders, "don't come with a speech, come with a plan."

The President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, also felt during the same press conference that there was an urgent need to "increase ambitions". "We need to act and act now," she insisted.

Impacts on man and nature

According to the report, in 2018, most of the natural hazards suffered by nearly 62 million people were related to extreme weather and climatic conditions. As in the past, floods have affected the most people-over 35 million.

Over 1 600 deaths were linked to intense heat waves and forest fires that hit Europe, Japan and the United States, with property damage approaching the record 24 billion in the latter country.

In India, the State of Kerala had not experienced such abundant rains and devastating floods for almost a century.  

Moctar FICOU/VivAfrik                                    

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