Environmentalists and weather experts have always looked at the alarming rising temperature and wondered when the average global temperature may go up. A new update from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) notes of 40 per cent chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years.
The WMO report – State of The Global Climate2020 released in April, highlights the acceleration in climate change indicators like rising sea levels, melting sea ice, and extreme weather. It also shows up the worsening impacts on socio economic development.
The Updated data says that the the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update confirms the trend. In the coming five years, the annual mean global temperature is likely to be at least 1°C warmer – within the range 0.9°C – 1.8°C – than preindustrial levels.
There is a 90 per cent likelihood of at least one year between 2021 and 2025 becoming the warmest on record. The data shows that high-latitude regions and the Sahel are likely to be wetter between 2021 and 2025. They also warn of increased chance of tropical cyclones in Atlantic compared to recent past.
WMO Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas said that these updates were more than just statistics. He noted that an increase in temperature meant melting of the ice, increasing temperature, higher sea levels and more heat waves. These could have wider impact on environment, food security and environment, he said.
Prof. Taalas said that this was a wakeup call to the world to fast track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and get to carbon neutrality, “Technological advances now make it possible to track greenhouse gas emissions back to their sources as a means of precisely targeting reduction efforts,” he noted.
Moreover, the WMO chief said it also underlined the need for climate adaptation. He pointed out that only half of 193 WMO Members had state of the art early warning services. Early warning systems reduce the adverse impacts of extreme events. All the countries should develop the services that helps to support adaptation in climate-sensitive sectors like health, water, agriculture and renewable energy, he noted.
“Besides limitations in early warning services we are having severe gaps in weather observations especially in Africa and island states. This has a major negative impact on the accuracy if the early warnings in those areas and globally. We need to invest in the basic networks as well,” Prof. Taalas said.
The global update says that global average temperature was 1.2 °C above the pre-industrial baseline in 2020, one of the three warmest years on record. It says that the chances of temperature reaching 1.5°C has doubled compared to last year’s predictions. The data reveals that it was very unlikely that the five year mean annual global temperature for the entire 2021-2025 period would be 1.5°C warmer than preindustrial levels.
Professor Adam Scaife, head of seasonal to decadal prediction at the Met Office, said: “Assessing the increase in global temperature in the context of climate change refers to the long-term global average temperature, not to the averages for individual years or months. Nevertheless, a temporary exceed of the 1.5 degree level may already be seen in the next few years.”
As per the Paris Agreement, the global temperature rise this century should be kept below 2°C degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Moreover, efforts needed to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.
COP26 scheduled for November is widely described as a “make-or-break” chance to prevent climate change spiralling ever more out of control. Moreover, tackling climate change is high on the agenda of the G-7 leaders summit hosted by the United Kingdom from June 11.