The world faces a 50 percent chance of warming 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, albeit briefly, by 2026, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Monday.
That doesn’t mean the world would exceed the long-term warming threshold of 1.5°C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which scientists have set as the upper limit to avoid catastrophic climate change. But a year of 1.5°C warming could provide a taste of what it would be like to cross that long-term threshold.
The chance of briefly exceeding 1.5C has risen since 2015, with scientists estimating a 20% chance in 2020 and revising that to 40% last year. Even a year of 1.5°C warming can have devastating effects, such as: B. the death of many of the world’s coral reefs and the shrinking of Arctic sea ice cover. The long-term average global temperature today is about 1.1 °C warmer than the pre-industrial average.
“Losses and damage associated with or exacerbated by climate change are already occurring, some likely to be irreversible for the foreseeable future,” said Maxx Dilley, WMO deputy director for climate.
“It’s important to remember that once we hit 1.5°C, the lack of science-based emissions guidelines means we’ll suffer worse impacts if we get to 1.6°C, 1.7° C and each subsequent warming step thereafter,” said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology.