A Scorching 2015 Ratchets Up Climate Concerns

By Tin Htet Paing 21 January 2016

RANGOON — The year 2015 was the warmest since 1880, according to a joint statement released on Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The press release said that the average temperature across land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average and that this is the highest recorded temperature in the 136 years that the metric has been taken.

Burmese meteorologist Tun Lwin said that the effects of this weather pattern are likely to be more severe in the years ahead.

He warned that due to last year’s powerful El Niño season, severe heat and drought may also strike Burma, with the first six months of 2016 potentially being the most extreme of the 12- to 18-month cycle. He added that climate irregularities in Burma may have stemmed from an uptick in the use of coal in the country and from deforestation.

Tun Lwin, as well as other forecasters, are urging governments to implement environmental protection measures and to make disaster preparedness a priority.

“It is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice—now is the time to act on climate,” NASA official Charles Bolden said in the statement.