"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."
A massive column of smoke rises from wildfires burning in Victoria, Australia. (Dale Appleton/DELWP)
Firefighters struggle against bushfires fuelled by strong wind in New South Wales, Australia. (Saeed Khan/AFP)
2019 was the year the world burned...
Climate change is not solely responsible for extreme weather events, but it fuels more frequent and intense episodes. Hottier, drier climates cause water to evaporate quicker, creating drought-like conditions. In 2019, these conditions exacerbated massive wildfires and sparked heatwaves.
Australia is still recovering from its most destructive bushfires in decades (pictured). The Arctic suffered its worst wildfire season, burning at an unprecedented scale. In summer, Europe was seared by record-breaking temperatures and heatwaves.
Hurricane Dorian's waters engulf cars in Freeport, Bahamas. (Ramón Espinosa/AP)
An aerial shot of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. Dorian claimed at least 70 lives and amounted to US$3.4 billion in damages. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
... and drowned.
Climatic impacts on extreme weather events do not stop there. A greater rate of evaporation means that more moisture remains in the atmosphere. When that uncommonly large amount of moisture is released as heavy rainfall, it raises the risk of floods.
Warmer waters also strengthen
hurricanes. Hurricane Dorian (pictured), which devastated the Bahamas, was intensified by ocean waters well above average temperatures.
We are experiencing - and are responsible for - the Earth's sixth mass extinction.
Extinction has typically been regarded as an inevitable consequence of evolution, but the rate of species extinction is now as much as 100 times the normal rate.
This expedited rate of extinction has been precipitated by extractive and pollutive human activities, which have altered ecosystems in unprecedented ways.
A starving polar bear staggers around in search of food. The lack of sea ice makes it more difficult for polar bears to find food. (National Geographic)
Due to anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, essential pillars of nature are now at risk of collapsing.
If we push natural ecosystems past certain thresholds (also known as tipping points), we may trigger a worsening spiral of climate change.
We are fast approaching ecological "tipping points".
Meltwater streams from an ice cap. Ice melting at the poles is in particular danger of creating feedback loops that will accelerate climate change. (Paul Nicklen/National Geographic)
These catastrophic events are happening in a world only warmed by 1⁰C.
The Carbon Clock
The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change's (MCC) Carbon Clock has been developed in line with the IPCC's 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
The Carbon Clock shows how much carbon dioxide can be released into the atmosphere to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and 2°C.