Copernicus Predicts 2015 to be an All-Time Record Year
- Latest Copernicus data confirm 12-month period to end November 2015 warmest on record.
- Antarctic ozone hole is amongst the largest ever and much deeper than average.
- Indonesia wildfires result in more CO2 than the whole 2013 industrial outputs of the UK or Germany.
PARIS, 10th December, 2015 - As COP21 nears its end, Copernicus, the European Union’s flagship for climate and atmospheric analysis, has revealed a year of remarkable climate events.
Decisions taken at COP21 are set to impact our planet for years to come. Acknowledging that the world’s climate is changing the EU implemented the ambitious Copernicus program to help policy makers, public services and industries to plan for and adapt to a changing world.
Today at 06:30pm, in the Blue Zone of Le Bourget, the Copernicus programme will present how its data can be, and is already being, used to address the impact of atmosphere and climate changes.
Copernicus data show:
- The global average for the period from December 2014 to November 2015 was the warmest twelve-month average on record, more than 0.4 °C above the 1981-2010 average.
- The warmest months on record relative to their 1981-2010 averages are October and November 2015; each was 0.6 °C above normal.
- The 15 warmest previous years on record are 1998 and 2001-2014.
At the end of 2015 we are around 1 °C warmer than temperatures typical of the pre-industrial era. With the greenhouse gases already accumulated in the atmosphere, it would take less than 30 years for it to be inevitable that temperature would in time reach 2 °C above the pre-industrial level if the global greenhouse-gas emissions stayed at their current rate.
The Antarctic ozone hole observed over the last few months is among the largest ever
Copernicus data show:
- The Antarctic ozone hole observed over the last few months is over 25 million km2, approximately the same surface area as North America. It is amongst the largest ever and much deeper than average.
- Though CFCs and most other ozone depleting substances have now been banned for more than 25 years, the concentrations of these substances are still high and, though declining slowly, remain close to their maximum values in the stratosphere.
- Such large ozone hole events may still occur in future years, as projections indicate that the recovery will take decades before they disappear entirely by 2055-2065.
The Copernicus monitoring of wildfires and emissions showed extreme events in Indonesia and relatively high events in Alaska in 2015.
This year’s wildfires have been stronger and released significant amounts of CO2 in to the atmosphere
- Emissions from the fires in Indonesia released more CO2 in to the atmosphere in September and October 2015 than added by the whole industrial outputs of countries such as Japan, Germany and the UK in 2013. Emissions are estimated to have released around 0.3 Gigatons of carbon (or 1.2 Gigatons CO2) during 2015 so far, with around 80% of those emissions occurring in September and October at the height of the fire activity.
- The Indonesian wildfires have likely been exacerbated by an exceptional 2015 dry season due to the current El Niño event, but land clearing fires are also a significant contributor to the figures.
- The 2015 wildfire season in boreal North America has been particularly strong, exacerbated by persistent dry conditions in the west.
- Approximately 20.600 km2 (around 2.5 million full-size football pitches) have burned in Alaska this year, making 2015 second only to 2004.
- High-latitude wildfires are of particular concern for climate change in the Arctic, where temperatures are increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.
Copernicus and The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is pleased to invite you to a COP21 panel event on:
Thursday 10th December at 6:30 pm
On the COP 21 site (Paris Le Bourget) in the Blue Zone, European Pavilion, Hall 2B, Brussels Room
When it comes to atmospheric variability and global climate change it is the full picture that matters:
- The European Commission’s Copernicus Services are equipping society, policy-makers and industry to mitigate climate threats, adapt to change and capitalise on opportunities. This is by harnessing unprecedented amounts of data about our earth and environment and making them ready to use by everyone.
- Launched in Summer 2015, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is already publishing monthly climate updates. When fully operational, the service will use ECMWF’s ERA5 forecast and reanalysis model. ERA5, the most powerful atmospheric reanalysis tool, will enable users to look back at the weather over the past 40 or more years. It will create global datasets describing the recent history of the atmosphere, land surface, and oceans to monitor climate change for research, education and commercial applications.
- There will also be a one-stop-shop climate data store to host the wealth of climate information and climate indicators that C3S will generate in partnership with suppliers and users.
- Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring (CAMS) products, which are freely available on the CAMS website, include near real-time analyses and forecasts of global atmospheric composition. They can be used to track the presence of climate change drivers in the atmosphere.
Notes for editors
1. ECMWF has published a COP21 briefing document on “How can big data help us live in a changing environment?” explaining the significance and potential of the Copernicus programme. The COP21 briefing document can be found on both websites:
2. Copernicus is the European Commission’s flagship Earth observation programme that delivers freely accessible operational data and information services. ECMWF has been entrusted to operate two key parts of the Copernicus programme and is assisting with a third to bring a consistent standard to the measurement, forecasting and prediction of atmospheric conditions and climate change:
- The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service provides daily forecasts detailing the makeup composition of the atmosphere from the ground up to the stratosphere.
- The Copernicus Climate Change Service (in development) will routinely monitor and analyse around 20 essential climate variables to build a global picture of our climate, from the past to the future, as well as developing customisable climate indicators in relevant economic sectors.
- The Copernicus Emergency Management Service - Floods supports improvements to flood forecasting and understanding of the frequency, variability and consequences of extreme weather.
3. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an international organisation which specialises in numerical weather prediction and is supported by many European states.
4. The National Meteorological Services in Europe play an integral role in making Copernicus a success.
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European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts
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Web: ecmwf.int | atmosphere.copernicus.eu | climate.copernicus.eu