The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Thursday that the annual mean global temperature was expected to be at least 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels in each of the coming five years.
In the most recent yearly issue of the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, the WMO said there was also a 20% chance the global temperatures in at least one year would exceed 1.5C above levels in 1850-1900.
The update was led by the UK’s Meteorological Office and provided a climate outlook from 2020 to 2024.
“This study shows — with a high level of scientific skill — the enormous challenge ahead in meeting the Paris Agreement on Climate Change target of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
The earth’s average temperature is already over 1C above the pre-industrial period. The last five-year period has been the warmest half decade on record.
The predictions consider natural variations and human influences on climate to provide the best possible forecasts of temperature, rainfall, wind patterns and other variables for the coming five years.
However, the forecast models do not consider changes in emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols following the coronavirus lockdown.
“WMO has repeatedly stressed that the industrial and economic slowdown from COVID-19 is not a substitute for sustained and coordinated climate action,” said Taalas.
Due to the very long lifetime of the carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, the impact of the drop in emissions in 2020 was not expected to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations driving global temperature increases.
“COVID-19 has caused a severe international health and economic crisis. Failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries,” he said.
Therefore, governments should use the opportunity to embrace climate action as part of recovery programs and ensure that we grow back better.
Physicist Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office Hadley Centre in the UK, said: “This is an exciting new scientific capability,
“As human-induced climate change grows, it is becoming even more important for governments and decision-makers to understand the current climate risks on an annually-updated basis.”
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