This year is on course to be one of the three warmest ever recorded, the United Nations said Wednesday, as the UN chief warned the world was on the brink of “climate catastrophe”
According to five data sets, 2020 is a year characterized by heatwaves, drought, wildfires and raging hurricanes.
The past six years, 2015 to 2020, are set to make up all six of the hottest years since modern records began in 1850, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its provisional 2020 State of the Global Climate report
“2020 is very likely to be one of the three warmest years on record globally,” the Geneva-based U.N. agency said in its State of the Global Climate in 2020 report. (Report: bit.ly/2KPSVTJ)
Stoked by extreme heat, wildfires flared across Australia, Siberia and the United States this year, sending smoke plumes around the globe.
“Apocalyptic fires and floods, cyclones and hurricanes are increasingly the new normal, “U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a speech at Columbia University in New York on the state of the planet.
He stated that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are to blame and policies have yet to rise to the challenge.
“To put it simply the state of the planet is broken,” Guterres said. “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal,” he said.
A less visible sign of change was a surge in marine heat to record levels, with more than 80% of the global ocean experiencing a marine heatwave, the WMO said.
“2020 has, unfortunately, been yet another extraordinary year for our climate,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas, urging more efforts to curb the emissions.
WMO said last month that greenhouse gas concentrations rose to a new record in 2019 and have risen so far this year despite an expected drop in emissions due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
According to the latest WMO report, the global mean temperature was around 1.2 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 baseline between January and October this year, placing it second behind 2016 and marginally ahead of 2019.
Hot years have typically been associated with El Niño, a natural event that releases heat from the Pacific Ocean. However, this year coincides with La Niña which has the opposite effect and cools temperatures.
The WMO will confirm the data in March 2021.
(Input from agencies)