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WMO: 2020 on Track to be One of Three Warmest Years Ever Recorded

When the year 2020 comes to a close, it is expected to be among the 3 warmest years ever recorded and warmest decade, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency within the United Nations.

A case for climate change: 2020

According to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2020 is going to be one for the climate record books, likely to fall as being one of the 3 warmest years ever recorded. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Modern temperature record-keeping began in 1850. Forecasters use the half-century from 1850-1900 as a baseline in determining an approximation of preindustrial temperature levels. Based upon this scale, the global mean temperature from January to October 2020 was roughly 1.2° C above the preindustrial baseline.

This means that 2020 is very likely to come in at one of the three warmest years on record.

The year 2020 saw an unprecedented outbreak of wildfires across the West. As firefighters worked on how to stop smoking fires, the decline in pollution gained by more people working at home during the coronavirus pandemic, was nullified in the West by the overwhelming presence of smoke. The warm and dry conditions are still bringing a lingering wildfire threat even into December.

The warmest years ever recorded

The six warmest years on record have all occurred since 2015, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Currently, the warmest year on record is 2016 at 0.99 Celsius above average. It is followed by 2019 at 0.95° C, 2015 at 0.93° C, 2017 at 0.91° C, and 2018 at 0.83° C above average. The other years that follow are in proximity decade-wise as well: 2014, 2010, 2013, and 2005 (tied), and 1998 respectively.

The warmest 10 years is set to be the years between 2011-2020. Currently, the warmest decade are the 2010s at +1.2° C/+2.16° F, according to climate central.org, based on NOAA and NASA data.

2020: A bad year for Earth’s oceans

According to the WMO, the ocean heat for 2020 was at record levels with over eighty percent of the global ocean experiencing a Marine heatwave at some time this year.

Exacerbating the problem for the Earth’s oceans is that Marine ecosystems have already been suffering from acidic waters due to carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption, according to the provisional WMO report on the State of the Global Climate in 2020, Click on Detroit reports.

Shrinking sea ice, rising seas

Another yardstick for looking at climate change is the extent of summer Arctic sea ice. Since the 1980s, the Arctic sea has increased in temperature at least twice as fast compared to the global average. In 2020, Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum in September, coming in as the second-lowest in the 42-year-old practice of using satellite records. From July to October 2020, Arctic sea ice was the lowest ever on record.

However, Antarctic ice in 2020 was close to or slightly above the 42-year mean average.

Overall, global mean sea-level rise in 2020 is similar to that in 2019, and consistent with the long-term trend at the global mean rate of sea-level rise amounts to 3.3 ± 0.3 mm/yr, that has been consistent, on average, since early 1993.

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