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Understanding, Protecting Planet Only Way to Ensure Sustainable Future, Secretary-General Stresses, in Message for World Meteorological Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Meteorological Day, observed on 23 March:

The ocean and the atmosphere are two titans of the Earth system.  Carefully balanced and inextricably connected, the relationship between air and sea dictates weather and climate around the globe.

Climate change is disrupting this delicate equilibrium.  Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels has heated our ocean to record temperatures, making it more acidic and increasingly depriving it of oxygen.

These changes are harming marine ecosystems and reducing the ocean’s ability to sustain the hundreds of millions of people who depend on it.  Sea-level rise has accelerated because of melting glaciers and ice caps, threatening coastal megacities and small island nations alike.

Science is also revealing how melting could affect mighty ocean currents, further exacerbating climate disruption.  Scientific research and better ocean observations are increasing our understanding of the changes taking place.

But, as we embark on the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, big gaps remain.  That is why this year’s World Meteorological Day highlights the theme of the “Ocean, our Climate and Weather”.

Only by understanding and protecting our planet can we ensure a sustainable future for humanity.

For information media. Not an official record.