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2019-04-05

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Environment
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In this file photo a ship from the Greenpeace organisation flies a banner sail demanding “Stop climate change here”, as they float off shore, nearby Copenhagen Airport.   | Photo Credit: AP

Ocean heat hit a record high in 2018, the United Nations has said, raising urgent new concerns about the threat global warming is posing to marine life.

In its latest State of the Climate overview, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reaffirmed that the last four years had been the hottest on record — figures previously announced in provisional drafts of the flagship report.

But the final version of the report highlighted worrying developments in other climate indicators beyond surface temperature.

“2018 saw new records for ocean heat content in the upper 700 metres,” a WMO statement said.

Last year also saw new heat records for the ocean's upper 2,000 metres, but data for that range only goes back to 2005. The previous records for both ranges were set in 2017.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the latest findings as “another strong wake-up call” for governments, cities and businesses to take action.

The United Nations is hosting a major summit on September 23 that is billed as a last-chance opportunity for leaders to tackle climate change, which Mr. Guterres has described as the defining issue of our time.

The UN chief has urged world leaders to come to the summit with concrete plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade and to net zero by 2050.

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