According to the head of the UN World Meteorological Organization, global warming has not reached a standstill - in fact, it has accelerated. Our planet will continue to warm for centuries to come, with disastrous consequences.
On Monday, the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) issued its annual statement on the Status of the Climate. UN weather agency chief Michel Jarraud spoke out against climate skeptics, stating that "There is no standstill in global warming," and pointing to some of the extreme climate events of 2013.
"The warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths," Jarraud said. "More than 90% of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans.
"Levels of these greenhouse gases are at a record, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable."
Droughts, heat waves, rising seas, floods and tropical cyclones around the globe last year are just a glimpse of what may be coming in the future, the WMO's statement pointed out.
While skeptics point to natural phenomena like volcanoes or the El Niño or La Niña weather patterns as an explanation for the observed warming and disasters, Jarraud rejects their arguments. "Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change," he said, pointing to the destruction wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Other 2013 examples that Jarraud pointed to were huge bush fires in Australia, winter freezes in the US south-east and Europe, heavy rains and floods in north-east China and eastern Russia, snow across the Middle East and drought in south-east Africa.