Global warming: 2015, the warmest yearThe planet is warming up. It is not a general perception, it is a confirmed fact that seems inexorable
The planet is warming up. It is not a general perception, it is a confirmed fact that seems inexorable. 2015 was the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. Exactly, 0.9 ºC above the average temperature of the 20th century reaching 14.8 ºC; a rise that compromises the COP21 objective of avoiding a rise in global average temperature above 2 ºC regarding preindustrial era by the end of the century.
Data from NASA, the Met Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have confirmed what during the twelve months of 2015 was more than evident. Experts warn with concern that we are entering "uncharted territory."
Before 2015, the temperature record had been already broken in 2014 and nine of the warmest years on record have occurred over the last thirteen years. The data are very significant, and the impact is greater when watching this video made by NASA in which the temperature increase from 1880 to 2015 can be checked:
What are the causes of global warming?
When analyzing the factors, scientists have two-way effect clear: in the first place, experts directly attribute global warming to human activity. The way we produce and consume based on fossil fuels causes the emission of greenhouse gases. Specifically, emissions of carbon dioxide increase the greenhouse effect to the point of reaching, in May 2015, the highest concentration rate of CO2 in the last 800,000 years.
On the other hand there is El Niño. This natural climatic phenomenon, which occurs on intervals of seven to eight years, causes warming of waters in the central and eastern Pacific, causing a chain reaction that affects the weather patterns of the rest of the planet. In addition, the current El Niño is being especially violent.
What can we expect in the future?
If 2015 turned the 2014 record temperature in something ephemeral, it seems that the same will happen on 2016. According to the forecasts of experts, this year's El Niño will be even more powerful, so unless there is a drastic decrease on emissions we'll see the mercury rising above one degree celsius regarding preindustrial level. Then we'll already have exceeded half the limit set by the Conference on Climate Change, when there will still be more than 80 years left to reach the 22nd century.
The consequences of our way of life, in which resources are consumed at breakneck speed and there is no adequate control of emissions, will continue to cause the appearance and radicalization of extreme events such as El Niño. Terrible consequences will continue to evolve from these phenomena such as the Zika virus, which according to the World Health Organization has had "an explosive spread" because of this climatic event.
Sources: Euronews, El País, BBC, Los Angeles Times, MIT Technology Review and The Guardian.