The probability that global temperature rise will reach the critical 1.5 degree warming within the next five years is now 50/50 and rising.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issues the warning in a climate update released today.
Scientists say warming of 1.5°C is a key threshold to prevent temperature rise and climate change from spiraling out of control.
The Paris Agreement is based on international acceptance that global temperature rise must be kept below 2°C and as close to 1.5°C as possible.
The likelihood of exceeding 1.5°C has increased rapidly since 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed.
There was a 10 percent chance for 2017-2021, so the new prediction of a 50 percent chance for 2021-2026 is a cause for concern.
“This study demonstrates, with a high level of scientific excellence, that we are measurably getting closer to temporarily achieving the Paris Agreement bottom line,” said Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the WMO.
“The figure of 1.5°C is not a random statistic. Rather, it is an indicator of when the climate impacts will become increasingly harmful to people and the entire planet.
“As long as we emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise.
“In addition, our oceans will continue to get warmer and more acidic, sea ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea levels will continue to rise and our weather will become more extreme.”
Reaching or exceeding 1.5°C in a single year does not mean the temperature cannot swing back down, and the Paris Agreement is more concerned with long-term sustained warming.
However, the WMO report warns that “temporary exceedances are to be expected with increasing frequency”.
“A single year of exceeding 1.5°C does not mean we have crossed the iconic threshold of the Paris Agreement, but it does show that we are moving ever closer to a situation where 1.5°C for one could be exceeded for a longer period of time,” said Dr Leon Hermanson of the UK Met Office.
The UK Met Office conducted research for the report along with climate forecasting groups from Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada, the US, China, Japan and Australia.
They predict there is a 93 percent chance that at least one year until 2026 will be the warmest year on record, a position currently held through 2016.
Average temperatures for 2022-2026 are also likely 93 percent higher than the average over the past five years.
For the November to March period of each year, forecasts indicate that “warm anomalies are likely almost everywhere.”
The Arctic is of particular concern, however, because the anomaly — the deviation from previous averages — is more than three times the size of the global anomaly.
“Arctic warming is disproportionately high and what is happening in the Arctic affects us all,” said Prof Taalas.
Precipitation forecasts see an increased likelihood of dry conditions over southwestern Europe and southwestern North America, but wetter conditions in northern Europe, the Sahel region of Africa, northeastern Brazil and Australia.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/global-temperatures-likely-to-rise-by-15c-in-next-five-years-report-warns-41632616.html Global temperature is likely to rise by 1.5C over the next five years, the report warns