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expert reaction to 2017 temperature data as published by the Met Office and the WMO

The MET office has announced that 2017 was the warmest year on record without the influence of warming from El Niño.


Prof. Martin Siegert, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said:

“That 2017 is the warmest non- El Nino year is unsurprising but deeply concerning. Despite our best efforts so far, global warming continues apace. Forget what the sceptics will tell you, climate change is real and is happening right now. With it comes the extreme storms and droughts experienced at historical levels across the world. This is yet another wake-up call – to develop a zero carbon sustainable economy before it’s too late to mitigate further dangerous climate change. Our efforts must be redoubled.”


Dr Kevin Cowtan, Climate researcher at the University of York, said:

“The University of York is one of 6 organizations who are reporting global surface temperature results for 2017. All of them find 2017 to be the second or third hottest year on record, despite the Pacific ocean entering a cooler phase this year. The good agreement of the different groups and methodologies reinforces our confidence in the recent temperature record. However there is still work to be done on the early (19th century) data, which are critical to assessing how close we are to the 1.5 C threshold agreed in Paris.”


Dr Dann Mitchell, NERC Research fellow at the University of Bristol, said:

“The most recent global temperature observations are in line with what we expected, both from our underlying theory, but also our model projections and understanding of the climate system. The atmosphere is warming, almost by 1C globally to date, and we are getting ever closer to the Paris Agreement target of 1.5C which we are so desperately trying to avoid. Let’s hope that this additional warming evidence helps to reiterate to our world leaders the ever reducing time frame to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”


Prof. Bob Lowe, Director of the UCL Energy Institute, said:

“The data for 2017 do not fundamentally change anything.  What is clear from the whole record of measurement and modelling, is that the climate science is increasingly robust. We are able to predict and explain trends and patterns in global and regional climate with a level of certainty that should be more than adequate as a guide for action.”


Prof. Dave Reay, Chair in Carbon Management, University of Edinburgh

“When even the ‘colder’ years are rewriting the warmest year record books we know we have a problem. Global temperatures will continue to bob up and down from year to year, but the climate tide beneath them is rising fast.”


Prof. Nick Graham, Royal Society University Research Fellow and Chair in Marine Ecology at Lancaster University, said:

“These new temperature data highlight that the world is rapidly warming. Warming temperatures at this rate are a threat to delicate ecosystems such as coral reefs. Our recent paper in the journal Science showed that temperatures outside El Niño years are now sufficient to cause mass bleaching and extensive mortality of coral reefs, and that bleaching events are becoming much more frequent. Indeed, in early 2017 a large area of the Great Barrier Reef bleached despite it not being an El Niño year.”



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