¨Increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather; and greater impacts on food security, health, the environment and sustainable development, WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said.
Under the international Paris Agreement countries pledged to limit long-term temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial levels. However, specialists warned about the possibility that the annual mean global temperature is predicted to be at least 1C warmer –with a range of 0.9C-1.8C – than pre-industrial levels.
The report published by WMO also warned of a very high likelihood – a 90% chance- of at least one year between 2021 and 2025 becoming the warmest on record, outstripping 2016´s record heat.
The global annual to climate update, produced by the UK Met Office, the WMO’s lead on such predictions, also shows that high-latitude regions and Africa’s Sahel are likely to be wetter, and there is an increased chance of more tropical cyclones in the Atlantic.
Scientists warn that temperature rises above 1.5C will lead to more heatwaves, extreme rainstorms, water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower crop yields, higher sea levels and destruction of coral reefs.