June 16, 2024

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June temperatures briefly cross a key climate threshold. Scientists expect more of these mutations

June temperatures briefly cross a key climate threshold.  Scientists expect more of these mutations

Scientists fear that temperatures around the world briefly exceeded a major warming threshold earlier this month, in a sign of the heat and its toll to come.

Mercury has fallen again since then, but experts say the brief spike marks a new global temperature record for June and points to more extremes to come as the planet enters an El Niño phase that could last for years.

Researchers at the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said Thursday that the beginning of June saw global surface air temperatures rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels for the first time. This is the threshold Governments said they would try to stay at the 2015 summit in Paris.

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Program, warned that “just because we’re temporarily over 1.5 doesn’t mean we’ve violated the limits of the Paris Agreement.” For that to happen, the globe would have to pass that threshold for a much longer period of timeFor example, two decades instead of two weeks.

Still, my 11 days at the 1.5-degree threshold show how important it is for scientists to keep a close eye on the planet’s health, not least because previous highs above 1.5 have all occurred during a northern hemisphere winter or spring, she said. . “It’s really important to monitor the situation, to understand the implications for next summer.”

“As a climate scientist I feel like I’m watching a global train wreck in slow motion. It’s very frustrating,” said Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, who was not part of the measurements.

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This is because the La Niña phase is three years long – which tend to mitigate the effects of global warming – gave way to the opposite, the El Niño period, Which can add another half a degree or more to average temperatures.

“2024 is expected to be warmer than 2023 as El Niño continues to develop,” Burgess said.

“We also know that the warmer the global climate, the more likely we are to experience extreme events and the more severe those extreme events will be,” she said. “So there is a direct relationship between the degree of global warming and the frequency and intensity of extreme events.”

Stefan Ramstorff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said the Copernicus data “is a reminder of how close we are to the 1.5°C limit of global warming., after which there are great risks for humanity in terms of climate instability and ecosystem system losses. ”

Their significance remains unclear, said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University climate scientist who, like Ramstorff, was not involved in collecting Copernicus’ data.

“But sometime in the next few years we will break global temperature records,” he said. “It’s the next El Niño, yes. But it’s not just El Niño. We’ve loaded up the climate system. No one should be surprised when we set extended world records. 1.5°C is coming fast; it might already be here.”

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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about the AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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