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Key in all this is the El Nino cycle. The world is coming off a record-tying triple dip La Nina three straight years of El Nino’s cooler cousin restraining the human-caused warming climb and is on the verge of an El Nino that some scientists predict will be strong.
The La Nina somewhat flattened the trend of human-caused warming so that the world hasn’t broken the annual temperature mark since 2016, the last El Nino, super-sized one, Hermanson said.
And that means a 98 per cent chance of breaking the 2016 annual global temperature record between now and 2027, the report said. There’s also a 98 per cent chance that the next five years will be the hottest five years on record, the report said.
Because of the shift from La Nina to El Nino “where there were floods before, there will be droughts and where there were droughts before there might be floods,” Hermanson said.
The report warned that the Amazon will be abnormally dry for a good part of the next five years while the Sahel part of Africa, the transition zone between the Sahara on the north and the Savannas to the south will be wetter.
That’s “one of the positive things coming out of this forecast,” Hermanson said. “It’s not all doom-and-gloom and heat waves.”
University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann said reports like this put too much emphasis on global surface temperature, which varies with the El Nino cycle, even though it is climbing upward in the long term. The real concern is the deep water of oceans, which absorb an overwhelming majority of the world’s human-caused warming, leading to a steady rise in ocean heat content and new records set regularly.
Mann said it’s wrong to think the world’s about to exceed the threshold any time now because “a concerted effort to lower carbon emissions can still avoid crossing it altogether,” Mann said. “That’s what we need to be focused on.”