United Nations climate agency says 2020 matched hottest year

2020 Was Earth’s 2nd Hottest On Record And Colorado Felt ItBy Joe Wertz

2020 Was Earth’s 2nd Hottest On Record And Colorado Felt ItBy Joe Wertz

What this effectively means is that, while every year won't be warmer than the last, records will occur at regular intervals. NASA, whose data was also included, said 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record.

The La Nina cool phase of the Pacific Ocean surface temperatures cycle "put a brake on the heat only at the very end of the year", the WMO said.

It says the decade from 2011 to 2020 was the warmest on record, and part of a persistent long-term climate change trend.

According to the WMO's Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, there is a one-in-five chance that by 2024, this temperature will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. The final slide shows the 2020 average.

Scientists have become increasingly concerned that if the planet holds a temperature at or above 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming for long, there could be severe impacts, such as the loss of most of the globe's coral reefs, increasing risks of a almost ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer and further destabilization of the polar ice sheets, locking in large-scale sea-level rise.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "We are headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century. It must be the top priority", he said.

SUNSET WILDFIRE AIR QUALITY DENVER CITY PARK

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.

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

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

In figures from the USA space agency NASA - one of the five datasets consolidated by the WMO - 2020 was hotter than 2016 by less than a tenth of a degree.

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.

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