Unless more efforts are channelled towards addressing the rising ocean levels, the future of the global environment could be in peril.
That was the message of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to mark the 2021 World Meteorological Day.
The WMO also observes that warmer seas helped to fuel a record Atlantic hurricane season last year, along with intense tropical cyclones in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans.
The “blue economy” is estimated at $3-6 trillion a year, accounting for more than three quarters of world trade and providing livelihoods for more than six billion people.
Millions of dollars in goods and hundreds of lives are still lost at sea each year, due to extreme weather conditions such as high winds, large waves, fog, thunderstorms, sea ice and freezing spray.
“About 40 per cent of the global population live within 100 kilometres of the coast, there is an urgent need to protect communities from coastal hazards, such as waves, storm surge and sea level rise via multi-hazard warning systems and forecasting.”Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General
A key concern is increasing sea ice loss as the world warms up.
The WMO is therefore trying to improve forecasts and warnings of both weather and ice conditions in polar regions.
The World Meteorological Day theme – The ocean, our climate and weather – celebrates WMO’s focus in connecting the ocean, climate and weather within the Earth System.
It also marks the starting year of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).