The U.S. is about to register the warmest year on record in the lower 48 states, and the world its ninth-hottest, a United Nations agency said in a report, adding new urgency to the quest to control global warming.
Two-thirds of the U.S. states suffered drought this year, while heat waves hit across Europe and in Morocco, Jordan, China and Russia, the World Meteorological Organization said in a report released in Doha, where UN climate talks began this week. It noted Arctic sea ice shrank to its smallest on record.
"The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far reaching changes taking place on Earthâ€™s oceans and biosphere," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. "Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records."