1.5°C Breached for First Time During Northern Hemisphere Summer
The Paris Agreement goal of keeping global surface air temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average is starting to fade into the background, climate experts say, as Reuters reported.
According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), in the beginning of June, average temperatures worldwide climbed above 1.5 degrees Celsius for several days.
“The world has just experienced its warmest early June on record, following a month of May that was less than 0.1°C cooler than the warmest May on record. Monitoring our climate is more important than ever to determine how often and for how long global temperatures are exceeding the 1.5 degrees threshold. Every single fraction of a degree matters to avoid even more severe consequences of the climate crisis,” said Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) Deputy Director Samantha Burgess, according to C3S.
Global average temperatures had gone above 1.5 degrees Celsius before, but not in the northern hemisphere summer, which began on June 1, reported Reuters.
“We’ve run out of time because change takes time,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a climatologist at Australia’s University of New South Wales, as Reuters reported.
Heat waves have been bringing dangerous temperatures to the United States and Mexico, as the Canadian wildfires continue to produce hazardous smoke and diminish air quality in Canada and the U.S.
“As a climate scientist I feel like I am watching a global train wreck in slow motion,” said Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, as reported by the PBS Newshour. “The expectation is that 2024 will be even warmer than 2023 as this El Niño continues to develop. We know as well the warmer the global climate is, the more likely we are to have extreme events and the more severe those extreme events may be. So there’s a direct correlation between the degree of global warming and the frequency and intensity of extreme events.”
According to a recent World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, there is a 66 percent chance the annual average temperature worldwide will breach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2023 and 2027 for at least a year. The report also said that, at least one year of the next five, as well as the entire five-year period, will be the warmest ever recorded.
“This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5°C level specified in the Paris Agreement which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas in a May press release from WMO.
Average sea surface temperatures worldwide have also been at record levels, reaching 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit in late March and staying at record temperatures in April and May, Reuters reported.
Piers Forster, a University of Leeds climate physics professor, said the combination of global warming, a decline in dust from the Sahara being blown over the ocean, El Niño and the use of shipping fuels that are low in sulfur was causing the increased ocean temperatures.
According to a press release last month from the World Wide Fund for Nature, the recent climate talks in Bonn didn’t show much progress on important issues related to the climate crisis.
“The Bonn climate conference showed a worrying lack of momentum towards our climate goals. This inaction is incompatible with the urgency needed, as highlighted by climate scientists. We don’t have time for any delays. Negotiators must use every opportunity between now and COP28 to build greater political trust and demonstrate the will to make the urgent changes needed across all sectors to tackle the climate and nature crises,” said Fernanda Carvalho, WWF global climate and energy policy head, in the press release.