Global temperature may rise 1.5 °C in 5 years: WMO
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued a strong warning over the rising global temperature amid unprecedented heatwave conditions in India. The chances of the annual global temperature temporarily rising 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels jumped from 10% in 2017-21 to nearly 50% in 2022-26, said the WMO. Furthermore, it predicted at least one year between 2022-26 will be the hottest year ever recorded.
Why does this story matter?
If the global temperature goes beyond the threshold of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels—set by the Paris Agreement aimed at combating climate change—the world may witness unimaginable natural disasters, including heatwaves like those ongoing in India. The Agreement requires all countries to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2050 to ensure the global temperature rise doesn't cross the upper limit of 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
Statement of WMO's chief Petteri Taalas over the report
Notably, the WMO's warning over the global temperature came through its Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update report released on Tuesday. Commenting on the same, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stated, "The 1.5 °C figure isn't 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," he explained.
Paris Agreement's 1.5 °C threshold hasn't been breached: Hermanson
However, Dr. Leon Hermanson of the UK's Met Office has explained global temperature exceeding 1.5 °C in a single year doesn't really imply the iconic Paris Agreement threshold has been surpassed. "But it does reveal that we are edging ever closer to a situation where 1.5 °C could be exceeded for an extended period," he added. Notably, Hermanson has coauthored the WMO report.
Temperature fluctuations in Arctic region in 2022-26
The WMO has also predicted that the temperature fluctuations over the Arctic region in 2022-26 will be three times more compared to the 1991-2020 average. "[It] is predicted to be more than three times as large as the global mean anomaly when averaged over the next five northern hemisphere extended winters," the report said.
Temporary breach still worrisome: IPCC
In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations warned that even a temporary breach of the 1.5 °C threshold could result in irreversible changes in various ecosystems. "Some impacts...will be irreversible, even if global warming is reduced," an IPCC report stated. It added certain ecosystems in danger are those with "low resilience," like the polar, mountain, and coastal ecosystems.
Arctic warming is disproportionately high: Taalas
The WMO's Secretary-General Taalas asserted, "Arctic warming is disproportionately high, and what happens in the Arctic affects all of us." This is crucial since it has a significant impact on global weather patterns.
Current policies may lead to rise of 2.7 °C
The WMO's findings are consistent with predictions that the world will struggle to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement's goals. In fact, Climate Action Tracker, an independent research organization, predicted current policies across the world will lead to a 2.7 °C increase in global temperatures.Share this timeline