The decade from 2014 to 2023 could end up being the warmest in over 150 years of records, say scientists who predict that the global average surface temperature for the next five years will be one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The figures released by the UK Met Office include data from a number of sources including the latest publication of provisional figures for 2018. Records for annual global average temperature extend back to 1850.
“2015 was the first year that global annual average surface temperatures reached 1.0 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels and the following three years have all remained close to this level,” said Adam Scaife, Head of Long-Range Prediction at the Met Office in the UK.
“The global average temperature between now and 2023 is predicted to remain high, potentially making the decade from 2014 the warmest in more than 150 years of records,” said Scaife.
Averaged over the five-year period 2019-2023, forecast patterns suggest enhanced warming is likely over much of the globe, especially over land and at high northern latitudes, particularly the Arctic region.
“A run of temperatures of 1.0 degree Celsius or above would increase the risk of a temporary excursion above the threshold of 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” said Doug Smith, a research fellow at Met Office.
“Predictions now suggest around a 10 per cent chance of at least one year between 2019 and 2023 temporarily exceeding 1.5 degree Celsius,” Smith said.
2018 is cited to be the fourth warmest year on record globally. It follows 2015, 2016 and 2017, which are the three warmest years in the 169-year record.
The effects of climate change are not limited to surface temperature. Warming of the climate system is seen across a range of climate indicators that build a picture of global changes occurring across the land, atmosphere, oceans and ice.