According to a report by the world’s largest climate and weather organization, the probability that the earth’s average temperature will temporarily break a crucial tipping point is rising.
On Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said there is now about a 50% chance that the annual average global temperature will briefly reach 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels in the next five years.
“The likelihood of the threshold being breached is increasing with time,” it added.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel has recognized the 1.5-degree marker on Climate Change (IPCC) as a crucial tipping point beyond which the threat of extreme wildfires, floods, food shortages and drought will increase dramatically.
“These are more than just figures,” WMO’s secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, said in a statement. “Rising temperatures mean higher sea levels, more melting ice, and more heatwaves. It will have major impacts on health, food security, sustainable development and the environment.”
By signing the Paris Climate deal, countries all over the world agreed to limit global warming to well below two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures.
But the world is now already 2/3rd of the way to breaking the tipping point. The WMO said the planet’s average temperature would probably be at least 1 degree warmer than pre-industrial levels in each of the upcoming five years and certainly be within the range of 0.9 to 1.8 degrees.
“2020 was one of the four warmest years in history, and the world’s average temperature was 1.3 degrees above the pre-industrial baseline,” the organization added.
According to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, WMO said that there was a 90% chance that one year between 2022 and 2026 will become the warmest in history, exceeding 2016 in the top ranking.