50-50 chance of temp hitting 1.5 deg C threshold in next five years: WMO

by IANS |

Geneva, May 10 (IANS) There is a 50-50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years, a new climate update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday.

There is a 93 per cent likelihood of at least one year between 2022-2026 becoming the warmest on record and dislodging 2016 from the top ranking while the chance of the five-year average for 2022-2026 being higher than the last five years (2017-2021) is also 93 per cent, according to the 'Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update'.

The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius has risen steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero. For the years between 2017 and 2021, there was a 10 per cent chance of exceedance. That probability has increased to nearly 50 per cent for the 2022-2026 period.

In 2021, the global average temperature was 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline, according to the provisional WMO report on the 'State of the Global Climate'. The final 'State of the Global Climate Report for 2021' will be released on May 18.

Back-to-back La Nina events at the start and end of 2021 had a cooling effect on global temperatures, but this is only temporary and does not reverse the long-term global warming trend. "Any development of an El Nino event would immediately fuel temperatures, as it did in 2016, which is until now the warmest year on record," WMO said.

"This study shows - with a high level of scientific skill - that we are getting measurably closer to temporarily reaching the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The 1.5 degrees Celsius figure is not some random statistic. It is rather an indicator of the point at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and indeed the entire planet," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

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