Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update: WMO

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

    About the Report

    • The annual update harnesses the expertise of internationally acclaimed climate scientists and the best prediction systems from leading climate centres around the world to produce actionable information for decision-makers.
    • It takes into account natural variations as well as human influences to provide the best possible forecasts for the coming five years.
      • The forecast models do not take into consideration changes in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosols as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.
    • The development of prediction capability was driven by the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme.
    • Climate prediction groups from all over the world contributed to predictions, enabling a higher quality product.

    Major Findings for 2021-2025

    • There is about a 40 per cent 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 per cent likelihood of at least one year becoming the warmest on record, which would dislodge 2016 from the top ranking.
    • 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.

    (Image Courtesy: WMO)

    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 scheme, BS-VI emission norms, National Clean Air Programme, efforts towards renewable energy, etc.

    Significance

    • The report underlines the need for climate adaptation.
    • It shows that the world is getting measurably closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
    • It works as a wakeup call that the world needs to fast-track commitments to slash GHG emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.
    • The year 2021 and climate change negotiations, COP26 (to be held in November 2021) have been widely described as a “make-or-break” chance to prevent climate change.
    • Tackling climate change is high on the agenda of the G-7 Leaders Summit, which will be hosted by the UK in June 2021.

    Concerns

    • Increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather.
    • These changes will lead to greater impacts on food security, health, 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.

    Suggestions

    • 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.
    World Meteorological Organisation

    • It is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories. 
    • It was established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950
      • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the roots of which were planted at the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
    • It is the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences a year later. 
    • The Secretariat, headquartered in Geneva, is headed by the Secretary-General. Its supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress.
    • The State of the Global Climate-World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993. 
      • The report was initiated due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change.

    Paris Agreement

    • It is a landmark agreement as it brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, for the first time.
    • It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change which replaced the Kyoto Protocol, an earlier related agreement.
    • It was adopted by 196 parties at COP 21 in Paris, in December 2015 and entered into force in November 2016.
    • Conference of Parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • Aims: To limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels.
    • Frameworks
      • Technology Framework.
      • Capacity Building Framework.
      • Transparency Framework.
    • Implementation
      • It requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science.
      • It works on a 5-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
      • Countries have submitted their plans for climate action known as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
      • To better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, it invited countries to formulate and submit by 2020 long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).
        • LT-LEDS provide the long-term horizon to the NDCs and are not mandatory.
        • Nevertheless, they place the NDCs into the context of countries’ long-term planning and development priorities, providing a vision and direction for future development.

    (Image Courtesy: WEF)

    Source: WMO