The theme of this year’s World Meteorology Day, which falls on the 23rd of March, is “hotter, drier, wetter. Face the Future”. According to the latest report of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), last year set new records for the intensity and frequency of extreme weather phenomena, such as heatwaves, drought conditions, and high rainfalls. This “record-breaking” trend is likely to continue in 2016.
The WMO Statement on the Status of Climate in 2015, which was published in Geneva on March 21st, provides details on the record-setting temperatures on the land and sea surfaces, the unabated ocean warming and sea level rise, the shrinking extent of sea ice, and other extreme weather events around the world. The WMO statement coincides with the theme “hotter, drier, wetter”, explained WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas during the press conference. According to Taalas, it was the powerful El Nino and human-caused global warming that led to the breaking of all previous records for global average surface temperature in 2015. Yet January and February 2016 have set more monthly records, with the heat especially pronounced in the high northern latitudes. The Southeastern part of Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma, was heavily affected by the El Nino-induced drought, with serious consequences for agriculture and farmers’ welfare.