According to a new climate bulletin released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), there is a one in two chance that the average annual global temperature will temporarily be 1.5°C higher than pre-industrial values during one at least the next five years. This probability will further increase over time.
There is a 93% chance that at least one of the years between 2022 and 2026 will become the warmest on record and thus overtake 2016 . United Kingdom Met Office (the Met Office) which is WMO's main center for this type of forecast, there is also a 93% probability that the average temperature for the five years of the period 2022 to 2026 will be higher than that of the last five years (2017-2021).
The annual bulletin draws on the expertise of internationally renowned climatologists and the best forecasting systems from the world's leading climate centers to produce actionable information for decision makers.
The probability of a temporary overshoot of the 1.5°C threshold has steadily increased since 2015, when it was close to zero.For the years between 2017 and 2021, the probability of exceedance was 10%. It has increased to almost 50% for the period 2022-2026.
“This study shows, with high scientific reliability, that we are getting significantly closer to the moment when we will temporarily reach the lower limit of the Paris Agreement. The 1.5°C figure is not a randomly chosen statistic. It indicates the point at which the effects of climate will no longer be harmful to people, or even to the entire planet,” said WMO Secretary-General, Mr Petteri Taalas.
“As long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise. At the same time, our oceans will continue to warm and acidify, sea ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea levels will continue to rise, and extreme weather conditions will continue to intensify. The warming of the Arctic is particularly marked and the conditions prevailing in this region have repercussions for the entire planet,” added Mr Taalas.
The Paris Agreement sets long-term objectives with the aim of leading all countries to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and thus limit the increase in global temperature to 2°C. this century, while continuing efforts to ensure that the 1.5°C threshold is not exceeded.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global warming of 1.5°C would increase the risks to natural and human systems, but said risks would be lower than for a warming of 2 °C.
Mr Leon Hermanson of the Met Office, who led the production of the bulletin, said: 'Our latest climate predictions show that the global temperature rise is set to continue and there is a one in two chance that it exceeds pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C in any of the years between 2022 and 2026. A single year of exceeding the 1.5°C threshold does not mean that we will have crossed the emblematic threshold the Paris Agreement; however, it is a sign that we are getting closer to a scenario where the 1.5°C threshold could be exceeded for an extended period.”
According to the WMO's interim report on the state of the global climate, in 2021, the average temperature of the planet will be 1.1°C higher than the reference pre-industrial era. The final version of the report will be published on May 18.
Back-to-back La Niña episodes in early and late 2021 have cooled global temperatures, but this is only temporary and does not reverse the long-term global warming trend. The appearance of an El Niño episode would immediately contribute to the increase in temperatures, as was the case in 2016, which remains the hottest year on record.
The main conclusions of the annual bulletin are as follows:
- It is projected that between 2022 and 2026, the average annual temperature of the planet near the surface will be 1.1°C to 1.7°C higher each year than pre-industrial levels (average of the years 1850-1900).
- There is a roughly one-in-two chance (48%) that average global near-surface temperature will exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C in at least one year of the period between 2022 and 2026. There is only a small probability (10%) that the five-year average exceeds this threshold.
- The probability that at least one year between 2022 and 2026 will be warmer than the warmest year on record, 2016, is 93%. The probability that the five-year average for the period 2022-2026 will be higher than that of the last five years (2017-2021) is also 93%.
- Compared to the average for the period between 1991 and 2020, the Arctic temperature anomaly is projected to be three times greater than the global average anomaly when calculated over the next five extended Northern Hemisphere winters.
- No early signs of an El Niño Southern Oscillation are detected for December-February 2022/23, but the Southern Oscillation Index is projected to be positive in 2022.
- The precipitation pattern forecast for 2022 compared to the average for the period between 1991 and 2020 suggests an increased likelihood of drier conditions in southwestern Europe and North America, and wetter in northern Europe, the Sahel, northeastern Brazil and Australia.
- The average precipitation pattern forecast for the period May to September between 2022 and 2026, compared to the average for the period between 1991 and 2020, shows an increased likelihood of wetter conditions in the Sahel, northern Europe , Alaska and northern Siberia and drier in the Amazon basin.
- The average precipitation regime forecast for the period from November to March between 2022/23 and 2026/27, compared to the average for the period between 1991 and 2020, suggests an increase in precipitation in the tropical zone when it should decrease in subtropical regions, consistent with predicted effects of climate change.
Led by the Met Office acting as the lead centre , climate prediction groups from many countries (Spain, Germany, Canada, China, United States of America, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark) provided new forecasts this year. Combining forecasts from climate prediction centers around the world results in a higher quality product than relying on a single source.
The WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme , one of whose key challenges is to support research and development to improve multi-year to decadal climate predictions and their usefulness to decision makers, have played a leading role in the development of short-term forecasting capabilities.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which published a special report on the consequences of global warming of 1.5°C , is responsible for producing comprehensive assessment reports on the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its repercussions and future risks, as well as on the possibilities of slowing down climate change.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the authoritative United Nations body on weather, climate and water issues.