NASA finds 2020 to be hottest year on record

16 Janvier, 2021, 10:46 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • 2020 Was Earth’s 2nd Hottest On Record And Colorado Felt ItBy Joe Wertz

In December, the global organisation had declared 2011-2020 as the warmest ever decade, with the warming trend noticed with each passing decade since the 1980s.

The UN climate agency says world temperatures in 2020 were on a par with those in 2016, which marked record highs.

"The exceptional heat of 2020 is despite a La Nina event, which is a temporary cooling effect", said Professor Petteri Taalas, secretary-general at the WMO.

It all has scientists concerned that a very momentous climate record could be coming quite soon: We could see a year that breaches, for the first time, the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature threshold.

It said the average global temperature in 2020 was about 14.9 degrees Celsius - a figure 1.2 C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. That approached the preferred 1.5 C lower limit of temperature increase the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate sought to avert. "It must be the top priority for everyone, everywhere".

The heat came even as a global economic slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic cut deeply into emissions from fossil fuels, adding evidence that carbon dioxide concentrations already in the atmosphere have set the planet on a warming track.

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La Nina is expected to continue into early to mid-2021.

This is a unique development, meteorologists said, as the year reported the prevalence of the La Nina weather pattern.

The WMO, a U.N. agency, relied on data from observing sites and ships and buoys from NOAA and NASA and the United Kingdom's Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.

Previous 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.

Dr Gavin Schmidt is the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and joins The World Today for his insights.

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