It’s becoming more likely that a key global temperature limit will be reached in one of the next five years.
A major study says by 2025 there’s a 40% chance of at least one year being 1.5C hotter than the pre-industrial level.
That’s the lower of two temperature limits set by the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The conclusion comes in a report published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The analysis is based on modelling by the UK Met Office and climate researchers in 10 countries including the US and China.
In the last decade, it was estimated that the chance of any one year reaching the 1.5C threshold was only 20%.
This new assessment puts that risk at 40%.
“What it means is that we’re approaching 1.5C – we’re not there yet but we’re getting close,” he said.
“Time is running out for the strong action which we need now.”
The researchers point out that even if one of the next five years is 1.5C above the pre-industrial level, it’ll be a temporary situation.
A landmark report by the UN climate panel in 2018 highlighted how the impacts of climate change are far more severe when the increase is greater than 1.5C.
At the moment, projections suggest that even with recent pledges to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, the world is on course to heat up by up to 3C.
The WMO’s secretary-general, Prof Petteri Taalas, said the results of the new research were “more than mere statistics”.
“This study shows – with a high level of scientific skill – that we are getting measurably and inexorably closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” he explained.
Read more: BBC