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World 'more likely than not' to breach 1.5C soon

STORY: For the first time ever, global temperatures are now more likely than not to breach 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit within the next five years.

That's according to the World Meteorological Organization on Wednesday (May 17).

But that did not necessarily mean crossing the long-term warming threshold of 1.5C above preindustrial levels set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Petteri Taalas is the WMO's secretary-general.

“There is a 66 percent chance that we would exceed 1.5 degrees during the coming the coming five years and there is 33 percent probability that we would see the whole coming five years exceeding that threshold of 1.5 degrees, which is of course, not very likely to happen."

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One thing that boosts the chance of hitting 1.5C is an El Niño weather pattern expected in the coming months...

When warmer waters in the tropical Pacific will heat the atmosphere above and push up global temperatures.

“It’s a conclusion that we haven’t been able to limit warming so far and we are still moving in the wrong direction.”

The warning came as another international team of scientists said record-breaking heatwaves that hit large parts of South and Southeast Asia in April were made "30 times more likely" by human-induced climate change.

The region saw Bangladesh at its hottest in 50 years and Thailand and Laos also hit by temperatures that caused widespread infrastructure damage, power shortages as and a spike in heat stroke.

The scientists for the World Weather Attribution group said humid heatwaves that used to happen once a century in Bangladesh and India tend now to occur every five years.

While the heat in Thailand and Laos would have been "virtually impossible" without climate change.