2019 was second-hottest year ever, more extreme weather coming - WMO

EnlargeNASA

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NASA says that last decade was the warmest on record, maintaining a steady trend that has been taking place since the 1960s.

Only 2016 - when temperatures were boosted by a significant El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific - has been hotter since the records began. "This is going to be part of what we see every year until we stabilize greenhouse gases" through the burning of coal, oil and gas, said Schmidt, who was at the convention from the American Meteorological Society in Boston, where last weekend was so hot that he went jogging in shorts and a T-shirt, Boston had his hottest January day on Sunday, at 74 degrees, which is 2 degrees warmer than the old record.

For the 21-year span that is considered a reasonable surrogate for pre-industrial conditions (1880-1900), the 2019 global land and ocean temperature was 2.07°F (1.15°C) above the average.

Last year was the second warmest year on record around the globe, making the last decade the warmest in recorded history, according to a new government report released Wednesday.

Differences between the various estimates arise largely from the way that the data-sparse polar regions are handled. CO2 levels haven't been this high in at least 800,000 years - though more likely millions of years.

The data also revealed the past five years were the warmest in the 170-year series.

The UN agency said that average global temperatures during both the past five-year (2015-2019) and 10-year (2010-2019) periods were the highest ever recorded.

"Each decade from the 1980s has been successively warmer than all the decades that came before". Past year was the second warmest in a record dating back to 1850.

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"We have strong man-made global warming", says Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Oxford University.

The Geneva-based WMO combined several datasets, including two from the USA space administration NASA and the UK Met Office.

While natural variability means that scientists don't expect new temperature records year-on-year, the Met Office is forecasting that 2020 will also be very hot, with the global average temperature estimated to be 1.1C above pre-industrial levels.

He said 2020 had started out where 2019 had left off, with high-impact weather and climate-related events such as the massive wildfires in Australia.

"Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere", Taalas said.

That report says "The increasing abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities is the direct cause of this recent global warming".

Several public figures, including former President Barack Obama and Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, have weighed in on the crisis, urging leaders to seriously address climate change and people to do what they can to help.

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