Summer may feel cold now. But the annual average temperature is expected to be more than a degree warmer than in the pre-industrial period over the next five years – and the recently passed five-year period was the warmest measured so far.
Stronger winds across the North Atlantic are causing worse storms in Western Europe over the next few years, according to the UN weather agency WMO. Stock Photography.
It is not an easy read for laymen when researchers report probability percentages and averages for different long periods. But the meaning is still clear.
They write that it is probable (without percentage) that the annual average temperature for each of the next five years is at least one degree Celsius higher than the average in pre-industrial times (the years 1850-1900), and that the average temperature for something individual of these years will be at least 1.5 degrees higher. That probability increases over time.
Given the monthly average temperature, there is a 70 percent probability that at least one month will be more than 1.5 degrees warmer than the average during the pre-industrial period.
During the current year, the Arctic, ie the area around the North Pole, is likely to warm up twice as much as the average for the entire planet.
Western Europe will receive more storms during the five-year period. Australia, southern Africa and northern and eastern South America are getting drier, while the Sahel and the regions nearer the poles are getting more rain than before.
WMO’s five-year forecast is produced each year by meteorologists from a number of countries, coordinated by the British Met Office. They collaborate on data and calculation models to provide scientific evidence to decision makers. Both natural variations and human influence are included.
The Corona pandemic does not affect the climate even though it has reduced industrial activity around the world, explains Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. Carbon dioxide does not decompose in the atmosphere but remains from previous emissions.
“Covid-19 has indeed caused a serious health and financial crisis. But not tackling climate change can threaten people’s well-being, ecosystems and economy for centuries. Governments should seize the opportunity and act for the climate as part of the recovery programs and ensure that we grow better, ”says Taalas.
In the Paris Agreement five years ago, most of the world’s states agreed to try to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial times, to prevent the natural disasters that would otherwise threaten.
Some points in the UN weather forecast
• The annual average temperature for the next five years is likely to be 0.91–1.59 degrees higher than during pre-industrial times (1850–1990)
• 70 percent probability that at least one month will be at least 1.5 degrees warmer than in pre-industrial times.
• 20 percent probability that something single of the next five years will be 1.5 degrees warmer.
• Very unlikely – below 3 percent – that all the next five years will be more than 1.5 degrees warmer.
• Almost all areas except the southern oceans are warmer than in the historical past (1981-2010)
• The areas near the poles and the Sahel are wetter than in the historical near future.
• Australia, South Africa and parts of South America are drier than in the historical past.
• Large parts of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to be 0.8 degrees warmer this year than in the historical near future.
Source: WMO’s report on the five-year weather forecast