Global temperatures set to pass 1 degree warming ahead of climate summit – UK Met Office

© Ina Fassbender
Global average temperatures are poised to surpass the milestone of 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the UK’s Met Office has warned, in the lead-up to a major climate summit later this month. 

Britain’s Met Office said 2015 will mark the moment when global temperatures breach the halfway mark towards 2 degrees Celsius, a figure judged to be a potentially dangerous indicator of climate change.

Meanwhile, figures from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reveal that levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities have reached record highs – with global average concentrations of CO2 in spring 2015 crossing the 400 parts per million barrier for the first time. 

The peak in global temperatures this year is partially driven by the development of a very strong El Nino effect in the Tropical Pacific Ocean. Human activity, however, remains the underlying driver, according to scientists.

This year is expected to be one of the hottest years on record, with scientists attributing the peak to both increasing carbon emissions and a particularly strong El Niño.

“We’ve had similar natural events in the past, yet this is the first time we are set to reach the 1 degree marker and it’s clear that it is human influence driving our modern climate into uncharted territory,” Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, said in a statement.

The findings come as ministers prepare for a major UN summit on climate change in Paris later this month in the hope of locking down a new global climate treaty.