The global average temperature of the surface of the earth has been rising since the turn of the century. Analysis by the World Meteorological Organization at the beginning of 2019 showed that the previous four years (2015–2018) had been the warmest on record.

The fifth assessment report by the International Panel on Climate Change predicts that surface temperatures are likely to continue rising. As a result of greenhouse gas emissions (mostly a result of human activity and the burning of fossil fuels, driven by population and economic growth) it is thought very likely that heatwaves will be more frequent and last longer, and that intense periods of rainfall will occur more often.

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