By the end of the century, the world’s average temperature is going to increase by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit).
The findings by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicates how far off track the planet is in containing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the dawn of the industrial revolution.
The Paris Agreement
A target level of global warming was introduced in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Slight temperature fluctuations are hardly noticeable during the day but when applied to the global climate, it would register the biggest shift in temperatures since the last ice age, which ended some 10,000 years ago.
In a two-week United Nations conference, in Madrid, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas told reporters, “If we wanted to reach a 1.5-degree increase we would need to bend emissions and at the moment countries haven’t been following on their Paris pledges”.
WMO pointed out that the average temperature from January to October this year was already 1.1 degrees above the pre-industrial period. According to the scientists from the U.K. Met Office and the University of East Anglia, this year is probably going to be the second or third warmest year for global temperatures on record. They criticized human influence as the main contributor to the warming conditions over the past 170 years.
Colin Morice from the Met office said that each decade from the 1980s has been warmer than the previous one. Morice added that 2019 will be the warmest decade in records since the mid-19th century.
Signatories to the Paris Agreement vowed to implement measures to restrain greenhouse gas emissions. However, there are a few indications that countries have done something to keep their promises, and there are no signs of improvement in the atmosphere, Taalas said.
Taalas also stated that the numbers on emissions are somewhat alarming and the world is about to see the highest greenhouse gas concentrations since the early 1980s.
Extreme weather events such as floods, forest fires, droughts, ice melting, and rising sea levels were recorded. According to the WMO, Ocean warming is particularly alarming as it contributes to heat waves on land. Almost 38% of marine heat waves this year were classified as strong.
Taalas said, “Once again in 2019, weather and climate-related risks hit hard.” He also stated, “Heat waves and floods which used to be ‘once in a century events’ are becoming more regular occurrences.”
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