AUSTIN (KXAN) — Recent trends across the world show our climate continues to warm. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) forecasts this warming pattern to continue. They suggest record heat between now and 2027, in part because of humans and, in part, due to the developing El Niño.
Earth’s record for the hottest year happened in 2016. The average global temperature across lands and ocean surface areas was 1.69°F higher than the 20th-century average of 57°F. The WMO believes this number will be topped any year from 2023 to 2027. They are fairly confident that the five years ahead will be the warmest of any five-year period.
The WMO’s forecast went one step further in predicting that any year between now and 2027 has a 67% probability of a hotter average temperature by 2.7° versus that of the 19th-century average.
The short- and long-term effects of this warming include dangerous heat waves and drought. Central Texas has seen these effects what with the recent La Niña causing a prolonged drought.
Wildfires are also a negative repercussion.
But perhaps the biggest effect is the toll our warming climate takes is on humans. The world continues to see people suffering, and even dying, from the onslaught of heat. A recent study by Climate Central shows that in Central Texas when the average temperature reached 87° (the daily average between the high and the low) that a higher risk of illness is possible. Eighty-seven degrees is the Minimum Mortality Temperature. Any higher than that and you have potential health problems, especially for those susceptible to heat-related illness.
Then, there is El Niño. While an El Niño may be beneficial for some parts of the globe, like Central Texas, it could have the opposite effect in other areas of the world. What does that mean?
Simply, it means that our rain pattern increases; we see more rainfall with, perhaps, fewer afternoons where the high meets or exceeds 100°. The La Niña pattern, just the opposite, continued to fuel the drought and, at the same time, gave us a summer in 2022 with 68 days of high temperatures in triple digits, 29 of them in July.
Remember, this is a prediction of what could happen in the next several years. One of the problems continues to be that, in spite of the pledge by world leaders to hold global warming to 2.7°F it is a cold fact that there has been a delay in making the changes necessary for this number to be achieved.
You might think that 2.7°F is not that big or an issue. Keep in mind the temperature represents a global average of warming. The increase is having a terrible effect on glaciers and sea ice as both continue to melt. When this happens, darker surfaces are revealed and that absorbs heat. In turn, temperatures rise further.
A severe cutting of fossil-fuel emissions is a good place to start. Climate change solutions are often stressed locally where individuals and families are offered tips to try to mitigate the warming. Things like saving energy at home, or changing your home’s source of energy, recycling, etc … are easy ways to help tackle the warming Earth.
The WMO has issued its warning. They are stressing the importance of being prepared to lessen the consequences for variables that will result from a lack of action.