Data recorded in the past few days, indicates that the global near-surface (2-metre) temperature breached 2.0℃ above the 1850-1900 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) baseline.
“Well humanity, we did it, even if just for one day. Yesterday, Nov 18, was the first time in recorded history that the global 2m surface temperature breached 2.0℃ above the 1850-1900 IPCC baseline. The long-term average remains below 1.5℃. But not for long.”
Professor Jacobson told Yorkshire Bylines:
“Although crossing 2℃ for the first time above the pre-industrial baseline is a singular moment in the evolution of climate change, it is important to note that the long-term average is still around 1.3℃, well below the Paris Limit. However, we should expect many more events like this with increasing frequency over the coming years. At our current rate of emissions, it is highly unlikely that 2℃ won’t be breached for good before 2050.”
Today, he dialled back his rhetoric even further by posting:
“Apocalypse not quite yet. Yesterday the global surface temperature dropped dramatically after breaching 2.0℃ over the pre-industrial average for the first time on Nov. 18th. The temperature is now back to 1.9℃ and is forecast to fall even further over the coming days.”
Global surface temperature: caution over alarmism
IPCC author Zeke Hausfather also initially warned for the need to have caution yesterday, when he pointed out that the data set which showed this breach “historically shows poor long-term agreement with reliable surface records”.
Posted by Zeke Hausfather, demonstrating the lack of agreement between data sets
During the morning of Monday 20 November however, a second data set from Copernicus or ERA5 (the latest climate data reanalysis), also indicated that 2.07℃ had been recorded on 17 November and 2.06℃ recorded on 18 November. With this second confirmation, Hausfather then posted the update and suggested, “Hopefully it will prove transitory, but it’s a worrying sign”.
University of Reading-based Ed Hawkins, a lead author for the latest IPCC assessment report, while noting that the breach had now lasted for two days in a row, also noted that “We already have many of the solutions to rapidly reduce emissions & halt the rise in global temperatures. We just need to choose to use them”.
‘The truth is bad enough’
Professor Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, and creator of the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph, told Yorkshire Bylines that “these sorts of ‘hot takes’ in my view are not very helpful, because they are highly misleading and wrongly connote the notion that we’ve passed critical thresholds”.
“It is well known (presumably to the people tweeting this sort of stuff), that the 1.5℃ and 2℃ thresholds are defined, not based on whether a single day, or week, or month, or year, rises above that level, but whether the *trend line* rises above that level. Because of natural variability, as with this year, temperatures can be temporarily spiked by a big El Nino event, like the one we’re seeing now. But the impacts of 1.5℃ warming or 2℃ warming have been defined on temperatures persisting above those levels, not a brief excursion that temporarily takes temperatures across those levels.”
He warned that social media ‘hot takes’ did not make for effective and productive climate communication, suggesting that some posters, “seem intent on furthering this misleading framing, knowing they can garner lots of clicks and retweets by doing so”. A concept he explored further in his latest book Our Fragile Moment.
Taylor Swift and ‘Hell de Janeiro’
This latest news of the breach of the global temperature comes in the same week that Taylor Swift suspended a concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following the death of a fan. Brazil’s summer is yet to start in earnest and yet it is already experience an unprecedented heatwave, with heat index readings recording 59.7℃ on Saturday.
Final warnings before COP28
With COP28 about to start in Dubai next week, these extraordinary climate events that have been witnessed in just the last week alone, must surely be enough to compel politicians to act in the best interests of the global population.