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Global temperatures hit new records above and under water

Xinhua, March 24, 2016 Adjust font size:

Global temperatures in 2015 hit new records under water as well as in the atmosphere, Paul Egerton, the representative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to the United Nations, said on Wednesday.

"The global average temperature in 2015 has broken all previous records now by a wide margin, with 93 percent of excess heat stored in the oceans, the ocean heat down to 2,000 meters also hit a new record," Egerton said during a press conference.

Egerton spoke to press on the occasion of the World Meteorological Day about trends in global weather patterns measured and recorded by the WMO in 2015 and early 2016.

"We rarely hear about the effect on the oceans but this is particularly important observation for predictions into the future," said Egerton.

Rising ocean temperatures are impacting on weather phenomena such as the intense El Nino of 2015-2016, said Egerton. El Ninos and La Ninas are related to changes in ocean temperatures, and the most recent El Nino began in record high ocean temperatures, he said.

"We think that the El Ninos will intensify because of this warming trend," said Egerton.

The 2015-2016 El Nino caused severe droughts from South Africa to southeast Asia, and added to global temperature increases.

"The powerful El Nino has had a very extreme augmentation on top of the already warming trend," said Egerton, adding that Arctic sea ice extent was at the lowest levels on record.

Warming ocean temperatures and acidification were also effecting the survival of coral, said Filipe Lucio, director of the global framework for climate services at the WMO.

"There is a need of better observing oceans so that we can better understand relationship and processes which have interrupted (them)," he said. The World Meteorological Day is annually observed on March 23 to remember the establishment of World Meteorological Organization on that date in 1950.