2020 records one of three warmest years ever: WMO

2020 records one of three warmest years ever: WMO”

While the coronavirus pandemic propelled 2020 into medical history, the year's global temperatures have topped the list for being the hottest on record.

Last year, the average global temperature recorded was 14.9 degrees Celsius, which was 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900). The confirmation by the World Meteorological Organisation that 2020 was one of the warmest years on record is yet another stark reminder of the relentless pace of climate change, which is destroying lives and livelihoods across our planet, Secretary-General Antnio Guterres said. Despite the varying results, the consensus is all the same: the past seven years have been the warmest years on record, dating all the way back to 1880.

"Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important, the important things are long-term trends", he said. "With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken". Greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content, global mean sea level, sea ice extent and extreme events are also factors.

The Northern Hemisphere experienced its hottest year on record, surpassing the 20th-century average by 2.3 degrees.

This is a clear indication that the global signal from human-induced climate change is now as powerful as the force of nature, Taalas said.

Though NASA's calculations peg 2020 as effectively tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record, analyses by researchers with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that 2020 was actually slightly cooler than 2016.

"We're all basically using the same raw data", Schmidt said.

More news: Was Earth's 2nd-Hottest On Record And Colorado Felt It

NASA's data also includes polar regions, unlike NOAA's. It is analyzed as per the ocean temperature data obtained by scientists of the USA agencies from buoys, floats, ships, and the temperature measures from land at weather stations across the world.

NASA's GISS temperature analysis is accurate to within 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit with a 95-percent confidence level for the most recent period.

The WMO believes there is at least a one in five chance of the average global temperature temporarily exceeding the 1.5 C mark by 2024. Two separate events changed the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface. They have recorded in recent years records of heat and huge fires.

The effects of La Nina - and El Nino at the opposite end of the cycle - upon average global temperatures are typically strongest in the second year of the event, said the WMO. Government scientists say that since 1981, the increases have averaged twice that. La Nina, which began in late previous year, is expected to continue into the early-middle part of 2021.

Past year was "a very striking example of what it's like to live under some of the most severe effects of climate change", said NASA research meteorologist Lesley Ott. Heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere remain at record levels and the long lifetime of carbon dioxide, the most important gas, commits the planet to future warming. NASA's study showed that the area has been heating more than three times as quickly as the rest of the earth during the past 30 years, Schmidt said. The loss of Arctic sea ice - whose annual minimum area is declining by about 13 percent per decade - makes the region less reflective, meaning more sunlight is absorbed by the oceans and temperatures rise further still.

This wildfire outbreak reignited something known as "zombie fires", which were observed in the Arctic in 2019.

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