Chair lifts sit empty at a ski resort that has had to close a number of slopes because of a lack of snow, on January 30, 2020 in Minamiuonuma, Japan. Large parts of Japan are dealing with the warmest winter since records began, causing a lack of snow in areas that are usually blanketed. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)
The world's top meteorological experts issued the warning as cities and countries around the world reported record-breaking warm winters.
As countries accustomed to cold, snowy winters reported record-breaking warm weather this season, meteorological experts on Monday predicted that temperatures over the next several months will also be warmer than usual—even without the effects of El Niño.
In its El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) update, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that the naturally-occurring El Niño phenomenon has only a 20 to 35% chance of taking place between March and August 2020. Warm weather mirroring El Niño's effects, however, is 55 to 60% likely over that same time period.
Above average temperatures are expected in many parts of the globe in the next few months, even without the presence of a warming #ENiño, according to new WMO Update.— WMO | OMM (@WMO) March 2, 2020
Details https://t.co/5Le2Uylq6y pic.twitter.com/SpVskhCxsE
"Even ENSO neutral months are warmer than in the past, as air and sea surface temperatures and ocean heat have increased due to climate change," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement. "The signal from human-induced climate change is now as powerful as that from a major natural force of nature."
El Niño, which involves changes in Pacific Ocean surface temperatures and in the "overlying atmospheric circulation," as the WMO wrote, is associated with drought, rain, and other weather events associated with warmer temperatures.
Even without the phenomenon, above-average sea surface temperatures are expected in both tropical and non-tropical regions in the next several months, which will lead to unusually warm weather on land as well.
The WMO report came as officials from around the world reported that cities and countries in a number of regions are experiencing unusually warm winters.
Moscow has had its warmest winter season in 200 years of record-keeping, with an average temperature of 32.3 degrees Fahrenheit—the first winter the city has experienced with an average temperature above freezing. Data is still being recorded throughout Russia, the Washington Post reported, and the entire country may have set a warm-weather record this winter.
Japan and France have also recorded their warmest winters.
A number of cities accustomed to snowy winters saw little to no snowfall this year; Helsinki, Finland recorded a total accumulation of 0.2 centimeters all winter, with no snow in January and February. In the U.S., Washington D.C. recorded less than an inch of snow this winter, compared to its average snowfall of more than 15 inches. New York City also recorded its second-least snowy winter ever.
On social media, climate experts recorded a number of unusually warm winters around the world, with the Post's Capital Weather Gang calling some of the records "astonishing."
Some astonishing warm winter records coming in:— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 2, 2020
* Moscow's first winter to avg. above freezing for the months of Dec, Jan, Feb.
* Snowless in Helsinki for the first time in Jan & Feb. Just 0.2 cm snow for the entire winter there.
* France's warmest winter on record.
For the first time in 200 years of record-keeping, the temperature in Moscow averaged above 32F for the winter.— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) March 2, 2020
In Finland, no snow in Jan/Feb
In Germany, ice-wine harvest failed because no ice https://t.co/tiU7F3xODH
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This year’s winter in Stockholm is the warmest one on record since daily weather observations began in 1756.<br><br>The Bolin Centre for Climate Research database presents live temperature data through new interactive graphics.<a href="https://t.co/t71j5MXvWW">https://t.co/t71j5MXvWW</a><br><br>Photo: Mostphotos/Gamma-Man <a href="https://t.co/ghs0UWaVvj">pic.twitter.com/ghs0UWaVvj</a></p>— Bolin Centre for Climate Research (@BolinCentre) <a href="https://twitter.com/BolinCentre/status/1234417968420990976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 2, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
"With more than 90% of the energy trapped by greenhouse gases going into the ocean, ocean heat content is at record levels," said Taalas. "Thus, 2016 was the warmest year on record as a result of a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming. 2019 was the second warmest year on record, even though there was no strong El Niño. We just had the warmest January on record."
About The Author
Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.
This article originally appeared on Common Dreams
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know
by Joseph Romm
The essential primer on what will be the defining issue of our time, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know® is a clear-eyed overview of the science, conflicts, and implications of our warming planet. From Joseph Romm, Chief Science Advisor for National Geographic's Years of Living Dangerously series and one of Rolling Stone's "100 people who are changing America," Climate Change offers user-friendly, scientifically rigorous answers to the most difficult (and commonly politicized) questions surrounding what climatologist Lonnie Thompson has deemed "a clear and present danger to civilization.". Available On Amazon
Climate Change: The Science of Global Warming and Our Energy Future second edition Edition
by Jason Smerdon
This second edition of Climate Change is an accessible and comprehensive guide to the science behind global warming. Exquisitely illustrated, the text is geared toward students at a variety of levels. Edmond A. Mathez and Jason E. Smerdon provide a broad, informative introduction to the science that underlies our understanding of the climate system and the effects of human activity on the warming of our planet.Mathez and Smerdon describe the roles that the atmosphere and ocean play in our climate, introduce the concept of radiation balance, and explain climate changes that occurred in the past. They also detail the human activities that influence the climate, such as greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions and deforestation, as well as the effects of natural phenomena. Available On Amazon
The Science of Climate Change: A Hands-On Course
by Blair Lee, Alina Bachmann
The Science of Climate Change: A Hands-On Course uses text and eighteen hands-on activities to explain and teach the science of global warming and climate change, how humans are responsible, and what can be done to slow or stop the rate of global warming and climate change. This book is a complete, comprehensive guide to an essential environmental topic. Subjects covered in this book include: how molecules transfer energy from the sun to warm the atmosphere, greenhouse gases, the greenhouse effect, global warming, the Industrial Revolution, the combustion reaction, feedback loops, the relationship between weather and climate, climate change, carbon sinks, extinction, carbon footprint, recycling, and alternative energy. Available On Amazon
From The Publisher:
Purchases on Amazon go to defray the cost of bringing you InnerSelf.comelf.com, MightyNatural.com, and ClimateImpactNews.com at no cost and without advertisers that track your browsing habits. Even if you click on a link but don't buy these selected products, anything else you buy in that same visit on Amazon pays us a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, so please contribute to the effort. You can also use this link to use to Amazon at any time so you can help support our efforts.