Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Paris 1.5°C Target May Be Smashed by 2026

A change to a positive phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation could see global warming accelerate rapidly.

The projected paths of global temperatures with a positive and negative Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. (Credit: Study authors) Click to Enlarge.
Global temperatures could break through the 1.5°C barrier negotiated at the Paris conference as early as 2026 if a slow-moving, natural climate driver known as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) has, as suspected, moved into a positive phase.

New research published in Geophysical Research Letters by University of Melbourne scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science shows that a positive IPO would likely produce a sharp acceleration in global warming over the next decade.

Since 1999 the IPO has been in a negative phase but consecutive record-breaking warm years in 2014, 2015, and 2016 have led climate researchers to suggest this may have changed.  In the past these positive phases have coincided with accelerated global warming.

"Even if the IPO remains in a negative phase, our research shows we will still likely see global temperatures break through the 1.5°C guardrail by 2031," said lead author Dr Ben Henley.

"If the world is to have any hope of meeting the Paris target, governments will need to pursue policies that not only reduce emissions but remove carbon from the atmosphere."

"Should we overshoot the 1.5°C limit, we must still aim to bring global temperatures back down and stabilize them at that level or lower."

The IPO has a profound impact on our climate because it is a powerful natural climate lever with a lot of momentum that changes very slowly over periods of 10-30 years.

Read more at Paris 1.5°C Target May Be Smashed by 2026

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