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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# heating up
Hottest year of modern records highly likely to come in next five years - report
Average temperature increase may temporarily break the important 1.5 degree threshold by 2027.

ONE OF THE next five years is highly likely to be the hottest of modern records as climate change poses an increasing threat to humans and nature.

New research published today by the World Meteorological Organisation has outlined the probable state of the climate between 2023 and 2027, with temperatures set to move into “uncharted territory”.

The WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update found that there is a 98% chance that the hottest year in human records will be one of the next five.

Average global temperatures fluctuate year to year but are on an upward trend due to climate change, which is being driven by human activities’ emission of greenhouse gases that trap heat inside the atmosphere.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to try to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

The WMO report says there is a 66% chance that an average global temperature more than 1.5 degrees higher than pre-industrial levels could be recorded in the next five years.

However, the chance of the five-year average exceeding 1.5 degrees is still lower for now at only 32%.

Over millions of years of history, global temperatures have been both higher and lower than they are at present. However, the conditions that make the planet safely inhabitable for humans rely on a much narrower temperature range.

The world is already experiencing impacts of the climate crisis such as heatwaves, droughts and melting ice sheets.

WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said that the 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,” he said.

A warming El Niño 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 far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared.” 

The last eight years overall have already been the warmest of modern records, according to another recent WMO report.

The State of the Global Climate report for 2022, which found that global temperatures between 2015 and 2022 were the eight warmest years on record in spite of a cold weather event called a La Niña.

2022 was Ireland’s hottest year on record, according to Met Éireann, with all-time highest maximum temperature records for July and August both broken (at Phoenix Park on 18 July with 33.0°C and Durrow, Co Laois on 13 August with 32.1°C). 

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