Record temperatures in the first half of 2016 have taken scientists by surprise despite widespread recognition that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, the director of the World Climate Research Programme said.
The earth is on track for its hottest year on record with June marking the 14th straight month of record heat, the World Meteorological Organization said last week.
“What concerns me most is that we didn’t anticipate these temperature jumps,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO’s climate research programme.
“We predicted moderate warmth for 2016, but nothing like the temperature rises we’ve seen,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Geneva.
“Massive temperature hikes, but also extreme events like floodings, have become the new normal,” Carlson said. “The ice melt rates recorded in the first half of 2016, for example – we don’t usually see those until later in the year.”