NEWS BRIEFING and EXPERT REACTION: We may have already passed 1.5°C of global warming

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

*** BRIEFING RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE**** Global temperatures may have already risen by 1.5°C since the pre-industrial period, according to an Australian-led team of researchers. Aiming to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C or below was a goal of the Paris Climate Agreement struck in 2015. While previous estimates of warming are based on sea-surface temperature records, these only date back to the mid-1800s. The team says some long-lived sea sponges contain hundreds of years of data on chemical changes within their skeletons, which can be used to estimate temperatures from much earlier. The researchers used sponge samples from a species in the Eastern Caribbean to explore temperatures over the past 300 years, and say their estimates show 1.5°C of warming relative to the pre-industrial period has already been reached. Join this briefing to hear from the lead author of the paper, which will be published in Nature Climate Change next week.

Journal/conference: Nature Climate Change

Link to research (DOI): 10.1038/s41558-023-01919-7

Organisation/s: The University of Western Australia

Funder: This work was supported by the awards of an ARC Laureate
Fellowship (LF120100049) to M.M. and an ARC Future Fellowship
(FT160100259) to J.T. and the ARC Coral Reef Studies Centre
of Excellence (CE140100020). Collection of sclerosponges
was supported by NOAA-NCCOS grants, NA06NOS4780190,
NA09NOS4260243, NA10NOS4260223 and NA11NOS4260184 to
the UPRM Caribbean Coral Reef Institute and NSF Award 0738825
to A.W. We thank J. P. D’Olivo, A. Kuret, K. Rankenburg and A.-M.
Nisumaa-Comeau for providing technical support at the UWA
geochemical laboratories. We greatly appreciated the helpful and
encouraging comments provided by colleagues.

Media release

From: Australian Science Media Centre

Global temperatures may have already risen by 1.5°C since the pre-industrial period, according to an Australian-led team of researchers. Aiming to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C or below was a goal of the Paris Climate Agreement struck in 2015. While previous estimates of warming are based on sea-surface temperature records, these only date back to the mid-1800s. The team says some long-lived sea sponges contain hundreds of years of data on chemical changes within their skeletons, which can be used to estimate temperatures from much earlier. The researchers used sponge samples from a species in the Eastern Caribbean to explore temperatures over the past 300 years, and say their estimates show 1.5°C of warming relative to the pre-industrial period has already been reached.

Join this embargoed briefing to hear from the lead author of the paper, which will be published in Nature Climate Change next week.

Speaker:

  • Emeritus Professor Malcolm McCulloch, The University of Western Australia

Date: Fri 02 Feb 2024
Start Time: 12 noon AEDT
Duration: Approx 45 min 
Venue: Online – Zoom

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  •  Research

    Springer Nature

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