Experts at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) have issued a new assessment of temperature trends and variations from the latest available data and analyses. They present evidence that global warming slowed less from 1998 to 2012 than first thought.
The experts also document substantial warming since then: global temperature peaked in February 2016 at a level around 1.5ºC above its level early in the Industrial Revolution. Pursuing efforts to limit the long-term temperature increase to 1.5 ºC was a goal set in the Paris Agreement in 2015.
"It is salutary to note that the world touched the 1.5ºC level less than twenty years after touching the 1ºC level in the then record-breaking year of 1998, in both cases following a strong El Niño. The updates we publish each month for the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service (climate.copernicus.eu) show a temperature fall of only around 0.3ºC since this February's El Niño peak. Global temperature remains high partly because sea-ice extent is exceptionally low in both hemispheres," said Prof. Adrian Simmons, lead author of the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society article. "The updates we publish each month for the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service show a temperature fall of only around 0.3ºC since this February's El Niño peak." He added that global temperature remains high partly because sea-ice extent (the area of ocean where there is at least some sea ice) is exceptionally low in both hemispheres.