LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) – Global temperatures are now on track for the first time to avoid exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming over the next five years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday. .
This does not mean the world will exceed the long-term warming limit of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
But one year of warming at 1.5C can provide a glimpse of what it would look like to exceed that long-term threshold, based on the 30-year global average.
With a tentative 66% chance of reaching 1.5C by 2027, “this is the first time in history that it has exceeded 1.5C,” said Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre. , who worked on WMO’s latest global annual first decadal climate update.
Last year the report was 50-50.
Even temporarily reaching 1.5C is “an indication that when we start with 1.5C in these years, the actual long-term climate is more often than not we’re getting closer to that threshold,” Leon Hermansson said. Met Office Hadley Centre.
It also means that the world has failed to make sufficient progress in reducing climate warming greenhouse gas emissions.
Partly responsible for increasing the likelihood of hitting 1.5C soon is the El Niño weather pattern expected to develop in the coming months. During El Niño, warm water in the tropical Pacific warms the atmosphere above, raising global temperatures.
El Niño “combined with human-induced climate change will push global temperatures into uncharted territory,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Talas said in a press release.
The mid-year transition to El Niño has scientists around the world worried. The weather phenomenon, though distinct from climate change, is likely to increase in intensity and bring warmer weather to North America and drought to South America, leaving the Amazon at a worse fire risk.
The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5C has increased over time. For example, scientists estimate a 10% chance of hitting 1.5C between 2017 and 2021.
Unlike the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s climate projections, which are based on future greenhouse gas emissions, the WMO provides long-range weather forecasts based on updated projections.
The WMO found a 98% chance that a record over the next five years will surpass 2016, which was affected by about 1.3C (2.3F) of global warming.
“This report should be a rallying cry to intensify global efforts to tackle the climate crisis,” said Doug Barr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace UK.
Reporting by Gloria Dickey in London; Editing by Nick MacPhee
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