Earth stays above 1.5°C warming for a year

Earth's average temperature remained 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for a full year, signaling ongoing and severe climate shifts.

Bob Berwyn reports for Inside Climate News.


In short:

  • Earth's average temperature stayed above 1.5°C for 12 consecutive months, the first such occurrence in recorded history.
  • Scientists stress that this 12-month period does not mean the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C limit has been breached, as that target is based on longer-term averages.
  • Climate experts warn that, without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, more temperature records will be broken, and long-term warming trends will continue.

Key quote:

"This is more than a statistical oddity and it highlights a large and continuing shift in our climate."

— Carlo Buontempo, director of Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Why this matters:

This sustained warmth has far-reaching consequences. Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, heatwaves and wildfires are becoming more frequent and intense, wreaking havoc on communities and ecosystems. Rising temperatures also accelerate the melting of polar ice, contributing to sea-level rise that threatens coastal cities and island nations.

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