September 22, 2023, Friday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Earth likely to surpass 1.5°C global warming threshold by 2027, scientists warn

The Nepal Weekly
May 23, 2023
Flood hit Melamchi in 2021

The unpredictable weather conductions for the recent years such as long-lasting summers, minimum rainfall during monsoon season, and shorter winters have already raised alarms that the temperature of the planet is warming up, now scientists have claimed that the Earth is on the verge of surpassing a critical temperature threshold for the first time in the coming years.

Researchers have claimed that there is now a 66 per cent chance that our planet will surpass the 1.5°C global warming limit by the year 2027. The reports by scientists suggest that the reason behind this is human-induced emissions which lead to changes in weather patterns. The planet will become warmer with a 1.5°C increase compared to the second half of the 19th century, before the widespread use of fossil fuels if the threshold is crossed.

Even a breach in the threshold for a year is a huge concern as it indicated the planet will continue to get warmer and there are least chances of a slowdown. If the planet’s temperature rises by 1.5°C every decade it would lead to damaging consequences for human life such as prolonged heatwaves, intensified storms, and increased wildfire activity.

While the 1.5°C figure has symbolic importance in global climate change negotiation, countries had promised to limit the temperature rise. In 2015, nations came together and signed the Paris Agreement committing to making efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. While scientists are almost certain that the global temperature will increase in the next few years, this does not mean that the Paris Agreement will be breached. Scientists have also suggested that humans still have the opportunity to mitigate climate change and global warming by reducing emissions drastically.

It is pertinent to note that, earlier in 2020, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) had alerted that the chances to surpass the 1.5°C threshold were just 20 per cent in the coming five years. However, the likelihood has been increasing at an alarming rate and it jumped to 50 % last year and now it stands at 66% meaning it is “more likely than not.”

In the pre-industrial era, between 1850 to 1900, scientists used to analyse the temperature data to understand the warming of the planet and later 1.5°C became an indicator to determine how much the Earth has cooled or warmed relative to the long-term global average. This threshold is not a measure of the global temperature.

Scientists have claimed that once the threshold of 1.5°C is surpassed, The Arctic will be warmer than other areas, with temperature anomalies expected to be three times larger than the global average over the next five northern hemisphere winters. Northern Europe, including the UK, is expected to witness increased rainfall from May to September over the next five years.

As climate breakdown and impact of a developing El Nina weather system combine to create heatwaves across the globe.El Nio is part of an oscillating weather system that develop in the Pacific. For the past three years, the world has been in the opposing phase, known as La Nina, which has had a dampening effect on temperature increase around the world. As La Nino ends and a new El Nino develops, there is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be hottest on record, the scientists found.

Professor Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of WMO, warned of the effects. “A warming El Nino is expected to develop in the coming months and this will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory. This will have for-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment,” he said. “We need to be prepared”.

There is likely to be less rainfall this year in the Amazon, Central America, Australia and Indonesia, the report found. This is particularly bad news for the Amazon, where scientists have grown increasingly concerned that a vicious cycle of heating and deforestation could tip the region from rainforest into savannah-like conditions.

That could have calamitous consequences for the planet, which relies on rainforests as massive carbon sinks. Over the next five years, there is likely to be above average rainfall in northern Europe, Alaska and northern Siberia, and Sahel, according to the report.

For each year from 2023 to 2027, the global near-surface temperature is predicted to be between 1.1C and 1.8C above pre-industrial average, taken from the year 1850-1900.

The world has warmed considerably in recent years. In 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed, requiring countries to hold global temperature increase to no more than 1.5C, it was forecasted that the chance of temporarily exceeding the 1.5C threshold within the following five years was zero. This November, governments will meet for the COP28 UN climate summit, where they will assess progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris agreement. Known as the “global stocktake”, this assessment is likely to show that the world is far off track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the 43% this decade that is required to have chance of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C.