UN forecasts even warmer temperatures over next five years

James Marshall
July 11, 2020

There is an increasing chance that annual global temperatures could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels over the next five years, new climate predictions from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say.

Scientists say average temperatures around the world are already at least 1 C higher now than from 1850-1900 because of man-made greenhouse emissions.

The world could see average global temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average for the first time in the coming five years, the United Nations weather agency said Thursday.

The 1.5 C mark is the ideal cap for global heating targeted by countries in the Paris Agreement of December 2015to minimize the effects ofclimate change.

But the assessment says there's a 70% chance it will be broken in one or more months in those five years.

But he said he does not expect to see that level of warmth to persist.

However, there is only a three per cent chance that the entire period would be 1.5 C warmer than that baseline level.

Meanwhile, the Arctic is likely to have warmed by more than twice as much as the global mean.

Africa's Sahel region will probably be wetter, the agency said, while Europe is expected to see more storms due to stronger westerly winds in the North Atlantic region.

World edges closer to breaking 1.5°C temperature rise threshold.

The average temperatures around the world are very likely to be at least 1 degree above the 1850-1900 average in each of the five years, according to the WMO.

The WMO said its forecast model takes into account natural variations as well as human influences on the climate, but does not consider changes in emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

"The WMO has repeatedly stressed that the industrial and economic slowdown from Covid-19 is not a substitute for sustained and co-ordinated climate action", said Prof Petteri Taalas, the WMO's secretary general.

"Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe global health and economic crisis, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries. Governments should use the opportunity to embrace climate action as part of recovery programmes and ensure that we grow back better", he said.

However it will, once again, underline the urgency of significant emissions cuts to prevent a long-term move to this more risky, warmer world.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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