Global temperatures are now more likely than not to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming within the next five years, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). However, this did not necessarily imply that the globe will exceed the Paris Agreement’s long-term warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
With a 66% chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2027, “it’s the first time in history that it’s more likely than not that we will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Adam Scaife, head of long-term prediction at Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre and contributor to the World Meteorological Organization’s latest Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update. According to last year’s research, the chances are roughly 50-50.
An El Nio weather pattern projected to develop in the next months is partly to blame for the increased likelihood of reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius. Warmer seas in the tropical Pacific heat the atmosphere above, causing global temperatures to rise.
In a news release, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stated that El Nio will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory. Nonetheless, the chances of momentarily reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius have increased over time. Scientists, for example, calculated a 10% likelihood of reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2017 and 2021.
Unlike the climate projections of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which are based on projected greenhouse gas emissions, the WMO update is more of a prediction-based long-term weather forecast. The WMO also discovered a 98% possibility that one of the following five years will be the hottest on record, topping 2016, when global temperatures rose by around 1.3 degrees Celsius.