The Global Climate 2011-2020: A decade of acceleration

05 December 2023

The rate of climate change surged alarmingly between 2011-2020, which was the warmest decade on record. Continued rising concentrations of greenhouse gases fuelled record land and ocean temperatures and turbo-charged a dramatic acceleration in ice melt and sea level rise.

The Global Climate 2011-2020: A Decade of Acceleration report documents how extreme events across the decade had devastating impacts, particularly on food security, displacement and migration, hindering national development and progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But it also showed how improvements in forecasts, early warnings and coordinated disaster management and response are making a difference. The number of casualties from extreme events has declined, associated with improved early warning systems, even though economic losses have increased.

Public and private climate finance almost doubled between 2011 and 2020. However, it needs to increase at least seven times by the end of this decade to achieve climate objectives.

The report was released at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, and emphasizes the need for much more ambitious climate action to try to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era.

The report provides a longer-term perspective and transcends year-to-year variability in our climate. It compliments WMO’s annual State of the Global Climate report.

The report is based on physical data analyses and impact assessments from dozens of experts at National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, Regional Climate Centres, National Statistics Offices and United Nations partners.

View Report

The Global Climate 2011-2020: A Decade of Acceleration

Key messages
  • 2011-2020 was warmest decade on record
  • Glacier and ice sheet loss unprecedented
  • Sea level rise accelerates
  • Ocean heat and acidification damage marine ecosystems
  • Extreme weather undermines sustainable development
  • Ozone layer on track to recovery