Tue | Oct 24, 2017

The heat is on ... record in global sizzle predicted for 2015

Published:Tuesday | May 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

BERLIN, Germany:

It is expected that 2015 will be much warmer than 2014.

That was the declaration made by Stefan Rahmstorf, respected professor of physics of the oceans, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Berlin, Germany, who was addressing the 2015 Climate Change Training Course for journalists in Germany.

He noted that the El NiÒo phase has intensified significantly, resulting in very hot temperatures.

"The first three months of 2015 were already a lot warmer than the corresponding period for 2014," he said. "Typically, about three or six months after an El NiÒo event, the global temperatures reach a peak. We have started an El NiÒo event, which is predicted to last for most of this year, and so I would expect that we would reach another record in the global temperature by the end of 2015," Rahmstorf explained.

Jeffrey Spooner, director of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, last year reported that based on projections, 2014 was on track to becoming the hottest year in recorded history.

El NiÒo is also influencing the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Spooner noted recently that it was expected to be one of the least active since the middle of the 20th century because of an active El NiÒo phase.

The El NiÒo climate phenomenon occurs when a vast pool of water in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean becomes abnormally warm.

High risk

The university professor also advised that sea-level rise should play an integral part in decision-making going forward.

"The small island states are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise, some more compounding than others. For the Caribbean islands, the risk of a storm surge after a hurricane is increasing with sea-level rise, which then leads to erosion of beaches and coastlines. The risk is very high," he declared.

"There are always adaptation and mitigation strategies in place, which means it's never too late to make changes. Going forward, it's going to be important that whatever projects are implemented or infrastructures built, that sea-level rise is taken into consideration," the professor said.

He added, "I think that small island states should keep fighting when it comes to the global stage. It is quite unrealistic to accept the consequences that come with global warming and do nothing about it. The quicker we can mitigate against the effects, the better it is for everybody."

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com