The chance of the global average temperature rising 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in any of the next five years is now around 50:50 (48%), according to a new Met Office study.
The annual to decadal global climate update, which was produced with the World Meteorological Organization, also showed a 93% chance that the five-year average global temperature for 2022-2026 will be above the average of the past five years. (2017-2021).
Dr Leon Hermanson, from the Met Office who led today’s report, said: “Our latest climate forecasts show that the continued rise in global temperature will continue, with an equal chance that one of the years between 2022 and 2026 exceeds 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“A single year of overshoot above 1.5°C does not mean that we have crossed the emblematic threshold of the Paris Agreement, but it does reveal that we are getting closer and closer to a situation where 1, 5°C could be exceeded for an extended period.”
In 2021, the global average temperature was 1.1°C above the pre-industrial baseline, according to the WMO’s interim report on the state of the global climate.
The final report will be published on May 18.
Meanwhile, back-to-back La Niña events in early and late 2021 have had a cooling effect on global temperatures, but this has only been temporary and will not reverse the long-term trend of global warming.
Any development of an El Niño event would immediately fuel temperatures, as was the case in 2016, which is currently the hottest year on record.
Professor Steven Sherwood, ARC Laureate Fellow at the ARC Center for Climate System Science and the UNSW Center for Climate Change Research, said: “This report examines natural variations from year to year over the world. other of the global average temperature (due for example to El Nino cycles) and the possibility that in the near future a single warm year will exceed the Paris target warming threshold, which is a significant possibility.
“However, if this were to happen, it would not mean that we have exceeded the target, as the target refers to the underlying average temperature, with natural year-to-year variability excluded.
“In other words, to actually exceed the target, we would need to be above 1.5C even in a ‘normal’ year, and that’s much less likely. But the report reminds us that we are getting uncomfortably close to that goal.”
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Dr Andrew King, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science in the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Melbourne, added: “This update highlights the speed at We’re warming the planet It’s only been six and a half years since the Paris Agreement was adopted and we are already seeing predictions that we could experience a brief overshoot of the global warming limit of 1.5°C in a near future.
“While the Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2°C and preferably below 1.5°C in the long term, the possibility of exceeding the 1.5°C threshold, even for a year, is worrying.”
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