New publication: Estimating changes in global temperature since the pre-industrial period

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Defining ‘pre-industrial’

The UN Paris Agreement on climate change aims to ensure increases in global temperature are less than 2°C above ‘pre-industrial’ levels, with an aspirational 1.5°C limit. However, the ‘starting line’ of the pre-industrial era is not defined by the UN agreements, or by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

A new analysis by an international team of researchers, led by SMURPHS Investigator Ed Hawkins, aims to better define the pre-industrial baseline, informing the world’s decision makers on the required limits to greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet the terms of the Paris agreement. The study, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), concludes that 2015 was likely the first time in recorded history that global temperatures were more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

Link to full, open access article.

Read report of the article by BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos, Defining a true ‘pre-industrial’ climate period.