World Meteorological Organization

Published date November 8, 2016

The global climate 2011-2015: hot and wild

  • Analyzes the global climate 2011-2015 – the hottest five-year period on record  - and the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts
  • Finds the record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover
  • Finds that all these climate change indicators confirmed the long-term warming trend caused by greenhouse gases
  • States carbon dioxide reached the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time in 2015
  • Examines whether human-induced climate change was directly linked to individual extreme events
  • Finds that of 79 studies published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society between 2011 and 2014, more than half found that human-induced climate change contributed to the extreme event in question; finds that some studies found that the probability of extreme heat increased by 10 times or more
  • Highlights some of the high-impact events, including:
    • the East African drought in 2010-2012 which caused an estimated 258,000 excess deaths and the 2013-2015 southern African drought;
    • flooding in South-East Asia in 2011 which killed 800 people and caused more than US$40 billion in economic losses; 
    • 2015 heatwaves in India and Pakistan in 2015, which claimed more than 4,100 lives;
    • Hurricane Sandy in 2012 which caused US$67 billion in economic losses in the United States of America;
    • and Typhoon Haiyan which killed 7,800 people in the Philippines in 2013