Human-caused warming has increased at an “unprecedented rate”

“Global temperatures are still moving in the wrong direction and faster than ever.” This is the alarming observation delivered by around sixty renowned researchers in a study published Wednesday June 5 in the scientific journal Earth System Science Data.

Their work, which is based on the methods of the IPCC, the climate experts mandated by the UN, aims to provide updated indicators based on the latter’s report, without waiting for the next cycle in several years. Compared to the pre-industrial era, human-caused warming has reached 1.19°C this decade, scientists say, a marked increase from the figures in the last report published a year ago. (+1.14°C over 2013-2022).

“Human-caused warming has increased at a rate unprecedented in instrumental measurements, reaching 0.26°C in 2014-2023”the researchers also specify.

Scientists’ conclusions “echo several other reports published this year”, remarks the journalist from the specialized site Space.comSharmila Kuthunur. In February, the European Union’s Earth observation program Copernicus announced that global average temperatures last year rose 1.48°C compared to the end of the 19th century, making 2023 the hottest year on record. An analysis by NASA scientists meanwhile concluded that global temperatures last year were about 1.2°C higher than pre-industrial levels. “While each organization uses slightly different methods to arrive at these numbers, they all agree that 2023 was the warmest period our planet has seen in a century and a half, and perhaps even in the last 2,000 years”underlines the journalist.

The carbon budget “about to be exhausted”

This new study “demonstrates that the ‘carbon budget’ which would allow us to limit warming to a sustainable threshold is about to be exhausted”, adds The duty. This “budget” is now only around 200 billion tonnes, the equivalent of some five years of emissions at the current rate, compared to another 250 billion in the last edition of the study a year ago.

In an analysis published on Carbon Briefan American site specializing in climate and energy policies, the main author of the study Piers Forster and researcher Debbie Rosen specify that the increase in temperatures is linked to a combination of factors: “greenhouse gas emissions near record level” and the “reducing the cooling effects of aerosols as society tackles deadly air pollution.” Polluting particles in the air have the particularity of reflecting the sun and allowing the formation of certain clouds, which causes cooling.

Heat dome over the American West

The report nevertheless contains “a little optimism” notes Piers Forster. Despite the record levels reached, the study shows that the rate of increase in CO2 emissions has indeed slowed this decade compared to the 2000s.

The publication of the study comes at a time when representatives from around the world are meeting in Bonn to advance climate negotiations before the COP29 scheduled for Baku at the end of the year (November 11-22) but also as a dangerous wave heat is expected in the western United States.

Some 8% of the American population is affected, or 25.2 million people, specifies the New York Times. In Southern California in particular, temperatures could reach 38 degrees Celsius, 15 degrees warmer than seasonal norms.

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