The year the world breaches for the first time the 1.5C global heating limit set by international governments is fast approaching, a new forecast shows.
The probability of one of the next five years surpassing the limit is now 50%, scientists led by the UK Met Office found. As recently as 2015, there was zero chance of this happening in the following five years. But this surged to 20% in 2020 and 40% in 2021. The global average temperature was 1.1C above pre-industrial levels in 2021.
It is also close to certain – 93% – that by 2026 one year will be the hottest ever recorded, beating 2016, when a natural El Niño climate event supercharged temperatures. It is also near certain that the average temperature of the next five years will be higher than the past five years, as the climate crisis intensifies.