Global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, fuelled by heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño weather pattern, according to a new update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Wednesday.
There is a 66 per cent likelihood that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027, will be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year.
And there is a 98 per cent likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period, will be the warmest on record.
“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,” he said.
“This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared,” said Petteri Taalas.
Typically, El Niño increases global temperatures in the year after it develops, in this case, that means 2024.
There is a 98 per cent chance of at least one in the next five years beating the temperature record set in 2016, when there was an exceptionally strong El Niño.
Arctic warming is disproportionately high. Compared to the 1991-2020 average, the temperature anomaly is predicted to be more than three times as large as the global expected anomaly when considering the next five northern hemisphere extended winters.
Predicted rain patterns for the May to September 2023-2027 average, compared to the 1991-2020 average, suggest increased rainfall in the Sahel, northern Europe, Alaska and northern Siberia, and reduced rainfall for this season over the Amazon and parts of Australia.