News hit the headlines recently that the Met Office – the United Kingdom’s national weather service – found that the world is heading towards the warmest period on record.
The results which have gone viral are a low-blow and hard reality to face. This news comes at a time when there has been a major shift in cultural and societal awareness on the environmental and ecological impact of climate change.
The new forecast suggests that the world is in the midst of what will transpire to be the warmest decade (2014-2023) on record. This is in the past 150 years since records and weather have been accounted for.
The report suggests that the next five years will see temperatures raise a minimum of 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels – a worrying reality. On top of that, citizens of humanity face a year (within the next five year warmest period) where the global temperature could rise greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Professor Adam Scaife, head of long term forecasting at the Met Office, told BBC News, “we’ve just made this year’s forecasts and they go out to 2023 and what they suggest is rapid warming globally.”
He went on to say that, “by looking at individual years in that forecast we can now see for the first time, there is a risk of a temporary, and I repeat temporary, exceedance of the all-important 1.5C threshold level set out in the Paris climate agreement.”
The Paris Agreement is an agreement amongst members of the United Nations which aims to tackle climate change starting in 2020. The goal of the agreement is for all members to keep the increase in global average temperature to below 2 °C, which would be above pre-industrial levels. The aim is to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. These goals would greatly limit the impact of climate change on Earth.
Although there are always miscalculations due to the unpredictable nature of weather, the Met Office has supported its findings saying that they are 90% confident that their ‘warmest period’ forecast is correct.
Dr Anna Jones, an atmospheric chemist at the British Antarctic Survey admitted, “The forecast from the Met Office is, unfortunately, no surprise… Temperatures averaged across the globe are at a record all-time high, and have been for a number of years”
She went on to say, “until we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can expect to see upward trends in global averaged temperatures.”
Overall, it seems that across the board scientists and climatologists are not surprised by these findings and that unless we drastically change our ways, we are certain to experience more reports like this.
Although all the signs are there and blockbuster films like The Day After Tomorrow called it way back in 2004, it seems a vast majority have been blissfully ignoring the realities of climate change.