The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

In Antarctica, where the heat reached a record temperature of twenty degrees and a few days ago an iceberg of over 300 square kilometers, almost as large as Malta, broke off from the Pine Island glacier. At this rate, the risk of sea level rise in the short term increases: already by the end of this century it could rise up to three times compared to the last century, that is from 19 to 58 centimeters. Large coastal cities would thus be in danger, from New York to Mumbai, from Hamburg to Shanghai and even Venice.

In order to signal that this may be the main risk for the cities on the coasts all over the world within the next 80 years and that therefore it is necessary to intervene with adequate protections, is the largest global study ever made of numerous models developed with cutting-edge computers, published in the journal Earth System Dynamics of the European Geosciences Union. If the combustion of coal, oil and gas does not stop – warns the study – the danger increases in the long run with the Antarctic ice sheet which, melting, can raise the sea level by even tens of meters. The 20.75 degrees centigrade detected at the monitoring station on Seymour Island is a record that scientists carefully observe in relation to global warming. Like the recent detachment of the iceberg always to the south pole, which generated huge fragments, and was documented with images taken from space by the pair of Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, the Agency’s Earth observation program European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission.


By: Domenico Greco

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