Global warming is rapidly approaching a significant milestone as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issues a stark warning.

According to the WMO, there is a 66% probability that global temperatures will surpass the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels between now and 2027. This alarming prediction, based on reliable research, raises concerns about the escalating impact of climate change on our planet.

The commitment to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was made by nearly all nations through the historic Paris climate agreement. This agreement, established during the COP21 climate conference, aimed to mitigate the risks of climate change and its associated consequences such as floods, rising sea levels, and droughts. However, the current projections indicate that this crucial threshold is on the verge of being breached.

While surpassing the 1.5 degrees Celsius mark is concerning, scientists clarify that it does not signify an irreversible breach of the threshold. Instead, it highlights that the world is now 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in the latter half of the 19th century, before the extensive rise in fossil fuel emissions during the industrialisation era.

Continued annual surpassing of the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold over a decade or more would intensify the severe impacts of global warming, including prolonged heatwaves, devastating wildfires, and more destructive storms. Nevertheless, exceeding the threshold within the next few years does not imply the failure of the Paris climate goal. Experts stress that there is still an opportunity to combat global warming by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2020, the WMO has been providing estimates on the probability of surpassing the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold in specific years. The likelihood has dramatically escalated, with the WMO initially predicting less than a 20% chance for the subsequent five years, but now, it stands at a worrisome 66%. Furthermore, the WMO forecasts a 98% probability of surpassing the hottest year on record during this period.

Temperature increase

The anticipated record-breaking temperature increase is expected to arise from a combination of greenhouse gas emissions and the natural weather phenomenon known as El Niño. El Niño involves the warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, affecting global rainfall patterns and temperatures. After a period of La Niña, which temporarily mitigated the effects of climate warming, scientists anticipate that El Niño will raise global temperatures by 2024, with its impacts typically manifesting a year after its development.

As global warming approaches the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, the urgency to take substantial action becomes increasingly evident. The alarming warning from the WMO serves as a call to all nations to intensify efforts in reducing emissions and implementing climate mitigation strategies. Without swift and decisive action, the consequences of surpassing this threshold could have severe and irreversible impacts on our planet and future generations.