Warmer world in 2020 shattered weather records, UN says
December 3, 2020 - An overheating world obliterated weather records in 2020, creating an extreme year for hurricanes, wildfires, heatwaves, floods, droughts and ice melt, according to the United Nations’ weather agency.
While the globe partly shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, extremes linked to human-caused climate change intensified, the World Meteorological Organisation said Wednesday in its State of the Global Climate report.
The report kicked off a day when the United Nations pushed for new climate action with two reports and a major speech by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describing the woeful state of the planet.
The UN is ramping up its efforts for a December 12 climate summit in France on the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The WMO report found that worsening global warming is being seen in all seven key climate indicators, but it said the problem is more than measurements and is increasing human suffering in an already bad year.
By the time it ends, 2020 will go down as one of three warmest years on record, despite a La Nina cooling of the central Pacific that often lowers temperatures globally, the WMO report said.
This year is set to be about 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the last half of the 1800s, which scientists use as a baseline for warming caused by heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Most trapped heat goes into the world’s seas, and ocean temperatures now are at record levels, the report said.
“There is at least a 1-in-5 chance of it temporarily exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2024,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
The Paris climate accord set a goal of not exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming since pre-industrial times.