The Korea Herald


Global temperatures likely to rise above 1.5 C mark in next 5 years: WMO

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : June 6, 2024 - 00:11

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Icebergs float around a melting glacier in Greenland's Ilulissat Icefjord. (Getty Images) Icebergs float around a melting glacier in Greenland's Ilulissat Icefjord. (Getty Images)

There is an 80 percent chance for global temperatures to rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels within the next five years, according to the World Meteorological Organization on Wednesday.

According to the WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Update report, the global temperatures for each year between 2024 and 2028 are predicted to range between 1.1 and 1.9 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The report, which is issued annually by the WMO, provides an explanation of its climate predictions for the next five years.

The WMO also predicted in its report that it is 86 percent likely for a new temperature record to be set in one of these years, outstripping 2023’s record. With global temperatures recorded at 1.45 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, 2023 is considered the warmest year on record by the WMO, thanks in part to the El Nino phenomenon in which ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific remained 0.5 degree Celsius higher than usual for more than five months.

According to the organization, the chance of global temperatures rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels for any year within a five-year observation period has steadily risen since 2015. For 2017 to 2021, there was a 20 percent chance, which increased to 66 percent for 2023 to 2027.

“Behind these statistics lies the bleak reality that we are way off track to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement,” said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Ko Barrett in the organization's press release. “We must urgently do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions, or we will pay an increasingly heavy price in terms of trillions of dollars in economic costs, millions of lives affected by more extreme weather and extensive damage to the environment and biodiversity.”

Under the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to keep long-term global average surface temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. The WMO added that this level had already been temporarily exceeded between June 2023 and May 2024, as global temperatures at this time were up 1.63 degrees Celsius.

“However, it is important to stress that temporary breaches do not mean that the 1.5 C goal is permanently lost, as this refers to long-term warming over decades,” added Barrett.

Meanwhile, average temperatures in South Korea from March to May recorded 13.2 degrees Celsius, which was the second highest mark since 1973, when such data began being tracked.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, Korea’s weather was heavily influenced by high-pressure systems over the last three months. From mid-March to late April, the strength of cold continental high pressure was weaker than normal. High-pressure flow developed near the Philippine Sea and moved to the east of Korea, which brought frequent warm southerly winds and warmer temperatures.

May was frequently influenced by cold continental high pressure from Mongolia, but as temperatures in the continent surrounding Mongolia also recorded 2 to 4 degrees Celsius above normal, it quickly transformed into warm mobile high pressure before coming into Korea.