The United Nations Meteorological Agency has stated that the year 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record and that 2016, a rival for the top spot, reflects the pace of “human-induced” climate change, which is strong so far.
All five datasets from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) surveyed that 2011–2020 was the hottest decade on record in the trend of persistent long-term climate change.
The hottest six years since 2015 have been the top three of 2016, 2019 and 2020. The difference in average global temperature between the three warm years is indirectly small. The average global temperature in 2020 was about 14.9 ° C, 1.2 (degrees 0.1) ° C above pre-industrial (1850–1900) levels.
Secretary-General Neonio Guterres said, “Confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization that 2020 was one of the warmest years on record, yet another stark reminder of the relentless pace of climate change, destroying life and livelihoods on our planet Has been doing.”
He said that at 1.2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the world is already witnessing unprecedented weather extremes in every region and on every continent.
“We are headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century,” he said.
“Making peace with nature is the decisive task of the 21st century. It should be a top priority for everyone, everywhere,” he said.
La Nina, which debuted late last year, is expected to continue into the early-mid-2021s.
La Nina refers to the mass cooling of sea surface temperatures in the central atmospheric Pacific Ocean, coupled with changes in tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure, and precipitation. This usually has an opposite effect on weather and climate as El Niño, the hot phase of the so-called El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
“The extraordinary heat of 2020 is despite the La Nina incident, which has a temporary cooling effect,” said WMO Secretary General Petri Talas.
The La Niña and El Niño effects on average global temperatures are usually strongest in the second year of the event.
“It is notable that temperatures in 2020 were on par with 2016, when we saw the strongest El Niño warming events on record,” he said.
“This is a clear indication that the global signal from human-induced climate change is now as powerful as the force of nature,” said Talas.
To the extent that this year La Nina’s cooling effects may temporarily reduce the overall long-term warming trend.
The WMO pointed to continued heat and wildfires in Siberia, one of the climatic events in the Atlantic to reduce Arctic sea ice and record-break storms, which stood out most in 2020.
The United Nations Meteorological Agency said that temperature is only a climate change indicator. Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea heat content, global mean sea level, sea ice extent and extreme events are also factors.
The consolidated global temperature update of the WMO includes information from five major international sets of data. It also uses datasets that combine millions of meteorological and oceanographic observations from satellites, with the model having a complete base of the atmosphere.
According to the WMO, “the combination of observations with the model makes it possible to estimate temperatures in data-sparse regions such as polar regions at any time and at any place around the world.”
The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to below 2 ° C, preferably 1.5 ° C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
However, in 2020 the global average temperature had already reached the lower limit of the rise in temperature, which seeks to avoid the agreement.
In addition, according to the WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, the Meteorological Office of the United Kingdom, there is at least a one-in-five chance that by 2024 the average global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5 ° C.
The 2021 m office annual global temperature forecast also suggests that next year will again be one of the warmest years on Earth.