MEETING the global warming target of 1.5°C may not be enough to limit the damage caused by extreme weather, according to new research led by Oxford University.

The study found that levels of atmospheric CO2 directly increase temperature and rainfall extremes, meaning there could be dangerous changes in these extremes even if the global mean temperature rise remains within 1.5°C.

Much of the focus on limiting climate change revolves around meeting the 1.5°C target as per the Paris Agreement.

However, the new research published in Nature Climate Change highlights the need for climate policy to also include explicit limits on CO2 concentrations.

DPhil student at Oxford’s Department of Physics and lead author of the research, Hugh Baker, said: "Future work is needed to confirm exactly why we see this direct CO2 effect, but current research points to a combination of circulation and cloud cover changes, and an increase in the amount of direct radiation on the Earth’s surface due to simply having more CO2 in the atmosphere."

The research was carried out in collaboration with researchers at the University of Melbourne, ETH Zurich, the University of Bristol and the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba, Japan.