Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update


  • Recently, the report ‘Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update’ has been produced by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Met Office.

Key Findings of Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update

  • There is about a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years.
  • There is a 90% likelihood of at least one year becoming the warmest on record, which would dislodge 2016 from the top ranking.

    Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update
    Source: WMO
  • High-latitude regions are likely to be wetter and there is an increased chance of more tropical cyclones in the Atlantic compared to the recent past (defined as the 1981-2010 average).
  • It confirms the trend highlighted in the State of the Global Climate 2020, released by the WMO earlier this year.
  • In the coming five years, the annual mean global temperature is likely to be at least 1°C warmer, within the range of 0.9°C to 1.8°C, than pre industrial levels. The report highlighted the acceleration in climate change indicators like rising sea levels, melting sea ice, and extreme weather, as well as worsening impacts on socio-economic development.
  • The chance of temporarily reaching 1.5°C has roughly doubled compared to last year’s predictions.
    • This is mainly due to using an improved temperature dataset to estimate the baseline rather than sudden changes in climate indicators.
  • 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record and the six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record. 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.

India Specific Findings 

  • Warming of the north Indian Ocean during the next five years, particularly the Arabian Sea, could make India even more vulnerable to deadly cyclones. Maps on surface temperature anomalies compared to the 1981-2010 period show the Arabian Sea could be 0.5°-1°C warmer than the 29-year period.
  • The long-term surface warming recorded in the western Indian Ocean region is in the range of 1.2°-1.4°C. This has a huge impact on the monsoon and severe weather events.
  • India’s average temperature has risen by around 0.7°C during 1901-2018 but Sea Surface Temperature (SST) of the tropical Indian Ocean has risen by 1°C on average during 1951–2015. It is markedly higher than the global average SST warming of 0.7°C, over the same period.
  • India has taken various steps to fight the problem of climate change on the national level.
  • These include the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and other government schemes like UJALA schemeBS-VI emission normsNational Clean Air Programmeefforts towards renewable energy, etc.

Key Concerns

  • Increasing temperatures mean more melting icehigher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather.
  • These changes will lead to greater impacts on food securityhealth, the environment and sustainable development.
  • Only half of 193 WMO Members have state of the art Early Warning Services (EWS).
  • Also, there are severe gaps in weather observations especially in Africa and island states, having a major negative impact on the accuracy of warnings.
  • In 2017, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that a breach of the threshold set by the Paris Agreement will mark a menacing milestone in the planet’s warming.

Way Forward

  • Countries should continue to develop the services that will be needed to support adaptation in climate-sensitive sectors such as health, water, agriculture and renewable energy.
  • They should develop and promote EWS so that the adverse impacts of extreme events can be reduced.
  • Technological advances now make it possible to track GHG emissions back to their sources which should be used as a means of precisely targeting reduction efforts.

Source: WMO

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