climate : The World Has Seen Record-Breaking Temperatures for 12 Months. Experts Warn They Will Be ‘Comparatively Cold’ to the Future

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:46 PM

Nafeza 2 world - June 5, 2024 2:43 PM EDT

Global temperatures have broken records for 12 consecutive months, and  last month was the warmest May ever recorded, the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service announced on Wednesday. 

In May the global average temperature was 1.52 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, marking the 11th consecutive month where the global average temperature was at least 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. The global average temperature from June 2023 to May 2024 was 1.63 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, a worrying trend that could signify that the world is moving closer to the thresholds set in the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

The impact has already been felt around the globe. The United States is facing another summer of extreme heat along with wildfires in California and an “explosive” hurricane season in the Atlantic. In the last month, deadly floods killed hundreds in Afghanistan, Brazil, and Indonesia, while dozens have died in India from extreme heat. 

But this might only be the beginning, experts warn. “This string of hottest months will be remembered as comparatively cold,” Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement. 

Buontempo says that the trend is “shocking but not surprising” and noted that, while the record-breaking streak might be interrupted, “the overall signature of climate change remains and there is no sign in sight of a change in such a trend.”

Despite the rising temperatures, there might still be time to make a change—as long as significant work is made to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. “...if we manage to stabilize the concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere in the very near future we might be able to return to these “cold” temperatures by the end of the century,” Buontempo said. 

The report comes as the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made a call for more ambitious climate action— noting that there is an 80% likelihood of at least one year between 2024 and 2028 temporarily exceeding 1.5°C, and a 47% likelihood that the global temperature averaged over the entire 2024-2028 five-year period will exceed 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era.

“For the past year, every turn of the calendar has turned up the heat,” Guterres said. “Our planet is trying to tell us something. But we don't seem to be listening. We’re shattering global temperature records and reaping the whirlwind.”

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