The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that global temperatures are likely to reach record levels within the next five years and this will have “far-reaching repercussions” for food security.

The WMO said in a new update published today (Wednesday, May 17) that there is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be the warmest on record, which in turn will impact on water management, health, and the environment.

In January of this year the Met Office confirmed that 2022 was the UK’s hottest year on record, with an average temperature of over 10° recorded for the first time.

It has also said that the global temperature forecast for 2023 suggests that it will be one of the Earth’s hottest years on record.

The latest WMO report stated that there is a 66% likelihood that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year.

The report was released ahead of the World Meteorological Congress (May 22 to June 2) which will discuss how to strengthen weather and climate services to support climate change adaptation.

El Nino

“WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency,” WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said.

“This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared.

“A warming El Nino is expected to develop in the coming months and this will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory,” he added.

The WMO describes El Nino as a warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

During an El Nino event, sea surface temperatures across the Pacific can warm by 1–3°F or more. This happens for anything between a few months to two years.

El Nino impacts weather systems around the globe, triggering predictable disruptions in temperature, rainfall and winds.

Further repercussions

“Global mean temperatures are predicted to continue increasing, moving us away further and further away from the climate we are used to,” Dr. Leon Hermanson, a Met Office expert scientist who led the report said.

Predicted rainfall patterns for the May to September 2023-2027 average compared to the 1991-2020 average suggest increased rainfall in the Sahel; northern Europe (including Ireland); Alaska; and northern Siberia.

In contrast, it shows reduced rainfall for this season over the Amazon and parts of Australia.