State of Climate Report: Evidence of Warming Planet Grows, Extreme Weather to Increase

By Jamie Crockett / 08/12/2020 College of Science and Technology

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 12, 2020) – Evidence of global warming continues to accumulate, including some of the hottest weather on record and increases in greenhouse gas accumulation and carbon dioxide concentration, according to the international 2019 State of the Climate report, released worldwide today.

The 30th edition of the report was compiled in part with contributions from Ademe Mekonnen, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Physics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, who served as an editor and section author for the regional climates chapter. The peer-reviewed annual assessment is published as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and is compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

The report examines global climate indicators, weather events, trends and other related components that may affect the environment.

Mekonnen’s direct contributions focus on the African region, where most of the continent reportedly experienced above-normal surface air temperatures last year. Additionally, North Africa and West Africa experienced extreme rainfall and flooding, causing numerous deaths, property damage and affected croplands.  

“This report has given us indication that extreme weather will increase in frequency and it is important that this evidence of a warming planet reaches those in our industry and beyond,” Mekonnen said. “To be a part of this international effort is a great achievement, as we work to see this information published and widely distributed for policymakers, politicians and other stakeholders’ use.”

Mekonnen, who was nominated by peers and invited to serve as the chapter editor, has been in this role since 2015. He has also served as the scientific coordinator of the Ethiopian Country Study Project (1994-2000), a secretary of the Ethiopian Ozone Secretariat (1996-1998) and has authored and edited the Ethiopian contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1998).

Nearly 530 contributors representing 61 countries participated as authors and editors of the State of the Climate Report.

Notable overall findings include:

  • July 2019 was the world’s hottest month on record, with last year’s surface temperature across land and oceans ranking among the top three highest recorded since the mid- to late 1800s.
  • Greenhouse gases increased and the global average carbon dioxide concentration was the highest dating back 800,000 years.
  • Warming oceans and melting glaciers contributed to the rise in global mean sea level, setting a new record for the eighth consecutive year.

 To view the full report, visit the American Meteorological Society website.

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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