UN report: Increased warming closing in on agreed upon limit

The world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago.

Posted: Sep 9, 2020 12:42 PM

The world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago and may exceed it in the next decade or so, according to a new United Nations report.

In the next five years, the world has nearly a 1-in-4 chance of experiencing a year that’s hot enough to put the global temperature at 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times, according to a new science update released Wednesday by the U.N., World Meteorological Organization and other global science groups.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Download the FOX 55 Severe Weather Center App on Apple

Download the FOX 55 Severe Weather Center App on Android 

That 1.5 degrees Celsius is the more stringent of two limits set in 2015 by world leaders in the Paris climate change agreement. A 2018 U.N. science report said a world hotter than that still survives, but chances of dangerous problems increase tremendously.

The report comes on the heels of a weekend of weather gone wild around the U.S.: Scorching heat, record California wildfires and two more Atlantic storms that set records for earliest 16th and 17th named storms.

Earlier this year, Death Valley hit 130 degrees (54.4 degrees Celsius) and Siberia hit 100 degrees (38 degrees Celsius).

The warming that has already occurred has “increased the odds of extreme events that are unprecedented in our historical experience,” Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said.

For example, historical global warming has increased the odds of record-setting hot extremes at more than 80% of the globe, and has “doubled or even tripled the odds over the region of California and the western U.S. that has experienced record-setting heat in recent weeks,” Diffenbaugh added.

The world already has warmed nearly 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 1800s, and the last five years are hotter than the previous five years, the report said. The speed-up could be temporary, or it might not be. There’s both man-made warming and natural warming from a strong El Nino weather pattern in the past five years, said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“The probability of 1.5 degrees (Celsius) is growing year by year,” Taalas told The Associated Press. “It’s very likely to happen in the next decade if we don’t change our behavior.”

That’s potentially faster than what a 2018 U.N. report found: that the world was likely to hit 1.5 degrees sometime between 2030 and 2052.

Breakthrough Institute climate scientist Zeke Hausfather, who wasn’t part of the new report, said the document was a good update of what scientists already know. It is “abundantly clear that rapid climate change is continuing and the world is far from on track” toward meeting the Paris climate goals, he said.

Some countries, including the U.S. and many in Europe, are reducing emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, but Taalas said the world is on a path that will be 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius) warmer compared with the late 19th century. That would be above the Paris accord’s less stringent 2-degree Celsius target.

The latest report was the U.N.’s annual update on “climate disruption” caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas. It highlighted more than just increasing temperatures and rising sea levels.

“Record heat, ice loss, wildfires, floods and droughts continue to worsen, affecting communities, nations and economies around the world,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in a foreword.

Guterres said big polluting countries, like China, the United States and India, need to become carbon neutral, adding no heat-trapping gas to the atmosphere, by 2050.

If they don’t, “all the effort will not be enough,” Guterres said at a press conference Wednesday.

The report spotlights unprecedented wildfires in the Amazon, the Arctic and Australia. California is fighting record wildfires as the report was issued.

“Drought and heat waves substantially increased the risk of wildfires,” the report said. “The three largest economic losses on record from wildfires have all occurred in the last four years.”

Taalas said the these type of climate disasters will continue at least through the 2060s because of the heat-trapping gases already in the air.

Carbon dioxide emissions will be down 4% to 7% this year because of reduced travel and industrial activities during the coronavirus pandemic, but the heat-trapping gas stays in the air for a century so the levels in the atmosphere continue to go up, Taalas said. And, he said, so will the warming.

So far, this year is the second hottest on record and has a 37% chance of surpassing the global record set in 2016, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300913

Reported Deaths: 5332
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41330845
Lake26364448
Allen17299290
Elkhart16665212
St. Joseph16319220
Hamilton12459164
Vanderburgh9428112
Tippecanoe826727
Porter791279
Johnson6139164
Hendricks5807154
Vigo574474
Monroe525247
Clark495374
Delaware4789103
Madison4760119
LaPorte446894
Kosciusko446139
Howard325575
Warrick316072
Floyd306177
Bartholomew303262
Wayne295261
Cass293431
Marshall289944
Grant258747
Noble246846
Hancock243749
Henry237136
Boone235154
Dubois230430
Dearborn208829
Jackson206033
Morgan200643
Knox178017
Gibson177022
Clinton174920
Shelby174554
Lawrence171646
DeKalb171229
Adams165219
Miami155114
Wabash153018
Daviess152243
Fayette145233
Steuben141113
Jasper138311
Harrison137624
LaGrange136629
Montgomery131226
Whitley129910
Ripley123714
Decatur123542
Huntington122310
Posey118913
Putnam118326
Wells118327
Randolph117819
White117421
Clay115621
Jefferson114214
Greene100253
Scott99818
Jay95012
Starke89221
Sullivan86615
Fulton81117
Perry80921
Jennings80514
Spencer8047
Fountain7378
Washington7176
Carroll66813
Franklin65925
Orange65728
Vermillion5832
Owen5816
Parke5416
Newton54012
Tipton53726
Rush5216
Blackford51211
Pike50218
Pulaski36810
Martin3485
Brown3263
Benton3251
Crawford2781
Union2621
Switzerland2473
Warren2352
Ohio2257
Unassigned0265

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 363304

Reported Deaths: 6020
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin49267665
Cuyahoga35214736
Hamilton29462371
Montgomery19636225
Butler14472144
Lucas14033409
Summit12962310
Stark8529197
Warren798975
Mahoning7068299
Lake662766
Lorain623697
Clermont563946
Delaware540335
Licking535875
Fairfield523763
Trumbull5159144
Greene510563
Clark501064
Allen460685
Marion457751
Wood4394107
Medina428654
Miami416465
Pickaway396448
Columbiana339597
Portage334471
Tuscarawas317557
Wayne314993
Richland306732
Mercer284737
Ross239259
Hancock232736
Muskingum231910
Auglaize223230
Putnam221449
Erie217165
Darke217058
Ashtabula215753
Geauga197351
Scioto193615
Union18658
Lawrence185436
Shelby184815
Athens18454
Seneca173118
Belmont158529
Madison156218
Sandusky152327
Preble148421
Huron147518
Defiance137921
Holmes137739
Logan123613
Knox122518
Fulton122025
Crawford119116
Ottawa118930
Washington116427
Clinton103414
Ashland102722
Williams10238
Jefferson10124
Highland99517
Henry98422
Brown9644
Champaign9345
Jackson90312
Van Wert8976
Fayette89217
Hardin86118
Morrow8552
Guernsey83313
Coshocton81413
Perry77012
Adams75012
Pike7261
Wyandot70516
Gallia70413
Paulding62710
Hocking61011
Noble59722
Carroll44310
Meigs37612
Monroe31021
Morgan2395
Vinton2105
Harrison1913
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 25°
Huntington
Overcast
35° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 35°
Decatur
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Van Wert
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Snow/Rain Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events