Indonesian wildfires set to continue – IRI forecast paints heavily shaken global climate system during COP21

When world leaders gather in Paris from November 30 to December 12/13 to negotiate a new UN climate treaty the urgency of that matter is very likely to create its own headlines across the globe, if you’d connect the brown and the blue dots on the map below:

COP21 climate forecast: extreme weather events during Paris climate summit!
COP21 climate forecast: World is set to experience a whole range of extreme weather events during Paris climate negotiations. South East Asia will probably experience brown haze pollution from continued Indonesian wildfires as drought over Sumatra, Borneo and Papua New Guinea is forecast to continue. Meanwhile more heavy rains increase local flood risks over the southern US and especially East Africa, where malaria might strike in flooded areas. All this is to the background of expected new heat records for the autumn and winter of 2015-2016. Image: International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI).

Here at we’ve written quite extensively about the new set of surpassing hottests years. For several years 1998, 2005 and 2010 were (statistically tied) the hottest years in recorded history. That has changed with the surpassing heat records of 2014, 2015 and 2016 – clearly indicating there is no such thing as a ‘temperature plateau’ as long as the concentration of greenhouse gases keeps rising as it does.

(There is such a thing as ENSO – and other variations in ocean circulation, that create annual differences in the amount of heat the oceans absorp from the warming atmosphere, creating relatively cool and relatively warm years.)

After the hottest summer ever, the world will have the hottest autumn and the hottest winter

The world has just witnessed the hottest (boreal) summer in recorded history. But what to expect of the 2015 autumn and the 2015-2016 winter? These seasons will be ‘hotter’ (stronger anomaly) still, relatively speaking – and are very likely to break all seasonal temperature records for Sep-Nov and Dec-Feb, globally.

Why? Because June, July & August were influenced by a still relatively mild El Niño – whereas the autumn and especially the coming winter will be influenced by the end-2015 Super El Niño.

What does this mean? An even hotter Pacific Ocean and a faster rising atmospheric temperature – so an extra hot end to an already hottest year on record. (Becaused of delayed ocean and atmospheric effects 2016 is set to break the upcoming 2015 temperature record, even if the El Niño would disappear in spring – which is an unknown, beyond the reach of climate models.)

Local forecasts show dramatic increase of local weather extremes during the end of 2015 – and yes, it is science-approved to relate that to the Paris climate negotiations!

But there is much more going on locally. Like the Amazon and Borneo drought we spoke of before. These drought conditions, see the IRI forecast, are likely to promote continued, possibly even increasing forest fires in many of the world’s most important remaining tropical rainforests, including Borneo and the Amazon, causing not only biodiversity loss, but also deterioration of air quality and dramatically increased CO2 emissions.

And the forecast increased rainfall over Kenia and other East African countries, where malaria might spread fast over floods. Also increased rainfall over the southern US. Judging by the above shown forecast of Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) these extremes are set to continue throughout the last three months of 2015.

Is it fair to relate El Niño extremes to the trend of climate warming? The occurence of El Niño itself is – as far as science understands the phenomenon, based largely on Pliocene paleoclimate comparisons, even Eocene ‘clam studies‘ – probably not strongly influenced by the trend of global climate warming. But after a whole set of La Niña (cool counterpart) dominant years – which led to the popular temperature plateau belief (wrong in very many ways) – having a clear El Niño year uncovers the global temperature trend line, which is in fact over the first 15 years of the 21st century rising faster than at any time during the 20th century.

Also weather extremes, like the Syrian drought of 2006-2010 to mention just one, are set to increase globally as a result of anthropogenic climate change [please click any of those links for further reading – there is a lot of research into & proof of the extreme weather increase!]. And it is only a sample of such weather extremes the world is set to witness in October, November and during COP21, the very UN climate conference where the world is supposed to ‘negotiate’ a universal response.

Does anyone know if there are any world leaders visiting Bits of Science?

Let’s hope world leaders will follow the news. Otherwise let’s help them do so. (Forwarding links to this website has never hurt people’s climate understanding – so please keep it up, it is appreciated!)

To bring you up to date on the Paris process: Current commitments by countries – if implemented! – bring the world on a path towards 860 ppm. To get policy in line with science and 2C promises countries need to dramatically increase 2030 emissions targets.

© Rolf Schuttenhelm |

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