Chances are rising that the annual average global temperature will exceed 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years, the UN weather agency warns in a new report released Thursday.
The World Meteorological Organization (OMM) stated that there is a 40% chance that the watershed’s global warming threshold will be reached during this period, and that these probabilities increase over time.
The 1.5 ° C mark has been established as the desirable target for all countries in the world that have adhered to the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rises, to avoid permanent changes that threaten the well-being of all life on earth. The agreement provides for limiting increases to 2 ° C or less.
There is a 90% chance that at least a year between 2021 and 2025 will become the hottest on record, which would dislodge 2016 from the top spot, according to the annual to decadal global climate update, produced by the UK Met Office, WMO’s main center for these forecasts.
More rain, cyclones
Until the end of 2025, high latitude regions and the Sahel are likely to be wetter, the report suggests, and there is an increased risk of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic compared to the average, taken since the start of the 1980s.
The annual update leverages the expertise of internationally renowned climatologists and the best forecasting systems from major climate centers around the world to produce actionable information.
“These are more than just statistics,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “Rising temperatures mean more ice melt, higher sea level, more heat waves and other extreme weather conditions, and greater impacts on food security, health, environment and sustainable development, ”he said.
‘Yet another wake-up call’
“This study shows – with a high level of scientific competence – that we are measurably and inexorably approaching the lower target of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“This is yet another wake-up call the world needs to accelerate commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality,” said Prof Taalas. “Technological advances now make it possible to trace greenhouse gas emissions back to their sources in order to precisely target reduction efforts,” he noted.
He said the report also highlights the need for adaptation to climate change. “Only half of WMO’s 193 Members have state-of-the-art early warning services. Countries should continue to develop the services that will be needed to support adaptation in climate-sensitive sectors – such as health, water, agriculture and renewable energy – and promote early warning systems that reduce the adverse effects of extreme events, ”he said.
“In addition to the limitations of early warning services, we have serious gaps in weather observations, especially in Africa and island states. This has a major negative impact on the accuracy of early warning in these areas and around the world. We also need to invest in basic networks. »He concluded.
Temperatures are rising
In 2020 – one of the three warmest years on record – the global average temperature was 1.2 ° C above the pre-industrial benchmark, according to the WMO report on the State of the World Climate 2020, released in April. He highlighted the acceleration of climate change indicators such as sea level rise, melting sea ice and extreme weather conditions, as well as worsening impacts on socio-economic development.
And Thursday’s update confirms this trend. Over the next five years, the annual average global temperature is expected to be at least 1 ° C higher – between 0.9 ° C and 1.8 ° C – than pre-industrial levels.
The probability of temporarily reaching 1.5 ° C has nearly doubled from last year’s forecast, WMO said. This is mainly due to use an improved temperature data set to estimate the baseline rather than sudden changes in climate indicators.
This year and the pivotal climate change negotiations, COP26, in November, have been widely described as a “decisive” chance to prevent climate change from spiraling out of control, WMO noted. Tackling climate change is one of the priorities of the G7 leaders’ summit, which is due to be hosted by the UK from 11 to 13 June.