Global temperatures are likely to soar to record highs over the next five years, driven by human-caused warming and a climate pattern known as El Niño, forecasters at the World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday.
The record for Earth’s hottest year was set in 2016. There is a 98 percent chance that at least one of the next five years will exceed that, the forecasters said, while the average from 2023 to ’27 will almost certainly be the warmest for a five-year period ever recorded.
“This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment,” said Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the meteorological organization. “We need to be prepared.”
Even small increases in warming can exacerbate the dangers from heat waves, wildfires, drought and other calamities, scientists say. Elevated global temperatures in 2021 helped fuel a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that shattered local records and killed hundreds of people.
El Niño conditions can cause further turmoil by shifting global precipitation patterns. The meteorological organization said it expected increased summer rainfall over the next five years in places like Northern Europe and the Sahel in sub-Saharan Africa and reduced rainfall in the Amazon and parts of Australia. [Continue reading…]