Annual Average Temperatures Aren’t the Best Climate Change Indicator

A blip over 1.5°C in a single year does not mean we failed our goals, and year-to-year averages are not necessarily measuring climate change.

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Source: Caniceus


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Last week, the World Meteorological Organization issued a report stating that there is a 50:50 chance that at some point in the next five years, the global annual temperature could spike past 1.5°C hotter than preindustrial times. The goal that nearly every country in the world has agreed upon is to keep global warming under a threshold of 1.5°C by 2100, making the possibility of breaching it in the next five years particularly noteworthy. However, there is an important distinction: a blip over 1.5°C in a single year does not mean the world failed its climate goal. Ethan explains why year-to-year average temperatures are not the measuring stick for climate change and how the WMO’s report successfully explained that nuance in this week’s “Tip of the Iceberg.”

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Writers: Ethan Brown, Shannon Damiano, Maddy Schmidt

Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley

Editor: Frank Hernandez

Producers: Olivia Amitay, Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, Dain Kim, Caroline Koehl

Ad Voiceover: Lindsay Cronin

Music: Brett Sawka

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.

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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


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