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Alarming Global Warming: A 66% Chance of Surpassing 1.5C Threshold by 2027

Scientists now predict a 66% chance that the critical 1.5C global warming threshold will be surpassed between now and 2027, a significant increase from the World Meteorological Organisation's (WMO) 2020 estimate of less than 20%. This acceleration in global warming is attributed to human activities, such as carbon emissions, and the likely occurrence of an El Niño weather pattern.

The 2015 Paris Agreement aimed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The warmest year on record was 2016, with global temperatures reaching 1.28C above pre-industrial levels. Researchers are now 98% certain that this high mark will be broken before 2027. However, the Paris Agreement threshold would only be considered passed if temperatures stay at or above 1.5C for 20 years.

WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas warns that we should expect temporary breaches of the 1.5C level with increasing frequency. High carbon emissions from human activities and the likely appearance of an El Niño weather pattern are contributing to these rising temperatures. The Arctic is expected to experience warming three times greater than the global figure over the next five northern hemisphere winters. Northern Europe, including the UK, is likely to see increased rainfall from May to September over the next five years.

The El Niño weather phenomenon is predicted to develop this summer with over a 90% chance and is likely to stretch into winter, according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Centre. This would be the first El Niño since 2018-2019, and it typically increases global temperatures by around 0.2 degrees Celsius overall. 2023 is predicted to be hotter than 2022, possibly the fifth or sixth hottest year on record. The NOAA also estimates a 50% chance that 2023 will be the hottest year on record.

El Niño's strongest influence on weather patterns occurs during the colder months. In Europe, this means drier and colder winters in the north and wetter winters in the south. In the US, northern states can expect dryer and warmer weather, while the Gulf Coast and Southeast may experience intense rainfall and flooding. The El Niño weather pattern can also affect monsoons in India and rainfall in South Africa, potentially reducing them. East Africa could see more rains and flooding, while Indonesia and Australia may face an increased probability of bushfires. Coral bleaching and die-off are more likely, with damaging effects on marine life along the Pacific Coast due to the suppressed upwelling phenomenon.

In conclusion, the world is on the brink of surpassing a critical global warming threshold, driven by human activities and the likely occurrence of an El Niño weather pattern. As we approach this tipping point, the consequences become increasingly severe, from extreme weather events to devastating impacts on ecosystems. It is now more urgent than ever that we take action to reduce our carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. The future of our planet depends on it.