A firefighter in June 2020 during a forest fire near the town of Winters in the US state of California.
The year 2020 was the warmest in the history of measurements, marked by powerful hurricanes and unprecedented forest fires, said the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The Office for Oceans and Atmospheres (NOAA), due to a different methodology, evaluates the past year as slightly colder than the record year 2016 so far.
This is a harbinger of what is to come.NASA Chief Climatologist Gavin Schmidt
Despite minor differences, data from the two US agencies confirm that the planet is warming over the long term due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, the Guardian reported. The seven warmest years in the history of measurements have been recorded since 2014, the ten warmest years are crammed into the last 15 years. The global temperature has exceeded the average of the 20th century for 44 years in a row.
Due to the huge amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, average temperatures will continue to rise, according to scientists. “This is not a new standard,” said NASA’s chief climatologist Gavin Schmidt. “This is a harbinger of what is to come.”
The record, or almost the record, in 2020 was set despite the current regularly recurring climate phenomenon of El Niño, which slightly cools the planet.
The average area of ice cover in the Arctic last year was 10.17 million square kilometers, which is the fourth lowest value since the beginning of the measurement. At the same time, the oceans are “exponentially warming,” the NOAA warned. According to her, only in the previous two years has the sea temperature been higher than in 2020.
The heating of the atmosphere and water causes the glaciers to melt, which raises the sea level and at the same time gives rise to larger and more destructive storms. The United States has faced an unprecedented hurricane season on the Atlantic coast last year, as well as a series of other disasters that have killed several hundred people and caused tens of billions of dollars in property.
Forest fires caused by long droughts have ravaged large areas of California and Australia. “This year has been a remarkable demonstration of what it’s like to live with some of the harshest impacts of climate change we’ve predicted,” said NASA research meteorologist Lesley Ott.
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