“2020 stands out for its exceptional warmth in the Arctic and for several tropical storms in the North Atlantic,” says the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)
It’s official: 2020 was equal to 2016 as the warmest year on record, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
Last year, 2020, coincided with the 2016 record despite the fresh effects of a La Niña event, while 2016 began with a strong El Niño warm-up.
The six years that began in 2015 are the hottest six years and 2011 to 2020 was the warmest decade on record. In 2020 it was 0.6 ° C warmer than the 1981-2010 baseline and 1.25 ° C above pre-industrial temperatures.
Some of the largest annual temperature rises occurred in the Arctic and northern Siberian regions, with temperatures exceeding 6 ° C more than the baseline in some areas.
There was an unusually active fire season in northern Ontario, which set a record 244 megatons of carbon dioxide in 2020, more than a third higher than the 2019 record. Arctic sea ice went be significantly below average during the second half of the year, with the lowest extent of sea ice recorded during the months of July and October.
“2020 stands out for its exceptional warmth in the Arctic and for several tropical storms in the North Atlantic,” commented Carlo Buontemp, director of C3S. “No wonder the last decade has been the warmest on record and is one more reminder of the urgency of ambitious emission reductions to prevent adverse climate impacts in the future.”
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations continued to rise despite the roughly seven percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels due to blockages of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
An initial 17% reduction in pandemic-related emissions was followed by record levels of carbon dioxide in May. Although the overall increase was slightly lower than in 2019, scientists warn that this should not be a cause for complacency. Until global net emissions are reduced to zero, carbon dioxide will continue to accumulate and drive climate change, said Vincent-Henri Peach, director of Copernicus’ Atmosphere Monitoring Service.
Countries that signed the 2015 Paris climate agreement pledged to limit warming to no more than 1.5 ° C with a target below 2 ° C. Scientists say this will require countries to commit to a faster transition from dependence on fossil fuels by investing in renewable energy.
“The extraordinary climate events of 2020 and the C3S data show us that we have no time to lose,” said Matthias Petschke, of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Industry and Defense Space. “We need to come together as a global community to ensure a fair transition to a zero net future. It will be difficult, but the cost of inaction is too great.
– Lori Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative, Manitoulin Exhibitor