Record temperature trajectory threatens to breach 1.5°C global heating threshold

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New climate data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that the annual mean global temperature is likely to be at least 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) in each of the coming five years (2020-2024) and there is a 20 per cent chance that it will exceed 1.5°C in at least one year.

1.5oC is the point where global warming linked consequences become increasingly severe and more difficult and expensive to adapt to, protect ourselves from, and control further temperature increases.

Scientifically documented consequences of breaching 1.5oC include 70% loss of corals and loss of half the habitat of insects, including food pollinators, by the end of the century, bringing global food security issues, on top of accelerating frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

The earth’s average temperature is already over 1.0oC above the pre-industrial period. The Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, led by the United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office, provides a predictive analysis of the world’s climate for the next five years, updated annually. The last five-year period has been the warmest five years on record. June 2020 was just 0.01°C below the record-breaking temperatures of June 2019, driven by exceptional heat in Arctic Siberia, May 2020 was the hottest May on record.

While the smallest temperature change is expected in the tropics and in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, the Arctic is likely to have warmed by more than twice as much as the global mean in 2020 compared to pre-industrial levels (defined as the 1850-1900 average). In Arctic Siberia, average temperatures reached as high as 10°C above normal for both May and June. A record high of 38oC within the Arctic Circle has been recorded at the Verkhoyansk observation station, which has kept temperature records since 1885.

Via UN Environment

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