It’s official:For the past 12 months, the Earth was 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than in preindustrial times, scientists said Thursday, crossing a critical barrier into temperatures never experienced by human civilizations.
According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the past 12 months clocked in at a scorching 1.52 degrees Celsius (2.74 degrees Fahrenheit) higher on average compared with between 1850 and 1900.
At some level, that’s not surprising — the past 12 months have been scorching, as a warm El Niño cycle combined with the signal of human-caused warming generated heat waves and extreme weather events around the globe.
“This El Nino maximum is riding on top of a base climate that is continuously warming due to climate change,” Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, said in an email. “The combination of them is what’s giving us such hot global temperatures.”
But does this mean that the world’s most famous climate goal is out of reach? Not … exactly.
Here’s what you need to know: [Continue reading…]