2019 culminated the hottest decade recorded, say NASA and NOAA

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January 15 at 12:05 p.m.

The last five years are

the hottest registered

1 ° C above

1880-1899 average

Source: NASA Goddard global surface temperature analysis (GISTEMP)

The last five years are

the hottest registered

1 ° C above

1880-1899 average

Source: NASA Goddard global surface temperature analysis (GISTEMP)

The last five years are

the hottest registered

1 ° C above the average of 1880-1899

Source: NASA Goddard global surface temperature analysis (GISTEMP)

The last five years are

the hottest registered

1 ° C above

1880-1899 average

Source: NASA Goddard global surface temperature analysis (GISTEMP)

The last decade was the hottest ever recorded on the planet, driven by an acceleration in temperature increases over the past five years, according to data published on Wednesday.

The findings, published jointly by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, detail a worrying trajectory: 2019 was the second hottest year ever recorded, only after 2016. The last five years each is among the hottest five since Records maintenance began. And 19 of the hottest 20 years have occurred over the past two decades.

The warming trend also has the unmistakable sign of human activity, which emits tens of billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, scientists say.

“No individual hot year, nor hot days or hot seasons, is in itself evidence of climate change. But this hot year is just one of many hot years in this decade, ”said Kate Marvel, a research scientist at NASA and Columbia University. “The planet is statistically, detectably warmer than before the Industrial Revolution. We know why. We know what it means And we can do something about it. “

According to NOAA, global warming has accelerated in the last 40 years compared to the early twentieth century. The annual global average surface temperature is now rising at an average rate of approximately 0.18 degrees Celsius (0.32 Fahrenheit) per decade.

That trend has shown few signs of change. “Every decade since the 1960s has been warmer than the previous decade, and not for a small amount,” Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which maintains temperature data, told reporters on Wednesday. .

The leaders of nations around the world have promised to try to limit the warming of the Earth to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, in an effort to avoid catastrophic sea level rise, extreme and increasingly deadly weather events and other weather-related disasters. But achieving that ambitious goal would require rapid and transformative change away from fossil fuels that has not yet materialized.

In contrast, global greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high in 2019, even when they declined slightly in the United States, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now at the highest level in human history, a level that probably has not been seen on the planet for 3 million years.

The 2019 figures from NASA and NOAA coincide with similar data published by Berkeley Earth, an independent group that analyzes temperature data. The United Kingdom Meteorological Office also rated 2019 among the first three warmest years. The findings are also in line with data published last week by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a scientific initiative of the European Union. The World Meteorological Organization confirmed the analyzes.

Berkeley Earth researchers said that no place on Earth experienced a record annual cold average during 2019. But 36 countries, from Belize to Botswana, from Slovakia to South Africa, experienced their hottest year since instrumental records began. Those same researchers estimated that there is more warming ahead, with a 95 percent chance that 2020 will become one of the hottest five years.

For 10% of the planet, 2019 was

the hottest year ever recorded

For 10% of the planet, 2019 was

the hottest year ever recorded

For 10% of the planet, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded

Much of Australia

endured a

2019 record

For 10% of the planet, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded

Much of Australia

endured a

2019 record

For 10% of the planet, 2019 was the hottest year ever recorded

Much of Australia

endured a

2019 record

Wednesday’s figures offer the latest evidence of the inexorable rise in world temperature, particularly in recent decades. But the warming over the past century, and the effects of climate change, have affected different parts of the world in very different ways.

A recent analysis by the Washington Post found numerous locations around the world that have already warmed at least 2 degrees Celsius during the last century. That is a number that scientists and policy makers have identified as a red line for the planet to avoid catastrophic and irreversible consequences.

Entire countries, including Switzerland and Kazakhstan, have already warmed 2 degrees Celsius, and there are other hot spots around the world, particularly in the Arctic of rapid warming. Scientists say extreme warming is helping to feed wildfires from Australia to California, melt permafrost from Alaska to Siberia and feed more intense storms and floods. It is also altering marine ecosystems from Canada to South America and the African coast, threatening the wildlife and livelihoods of those who depend on the sea.

Temperature change,

2019 compared to 1880-1899

Temperature change,

2019 compared to 1880-1899

Temperature change, 2019 compared to 1880-1899

Temperature change, 2019 compared to 1880-1899

Temperature change, 2019 compared to 1880-1899

“The evidence is not just at the surface temperature,” said Benjamin Santer, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, about the tendency to human-fed warming. “It’s the Arctic sea ice. The atmospheric water vapor increases. It’s the changes in the glaciers in Alaska. It’s changes in the Greenland ice sheet. It’s all of the above.”

Only last year there was a litany of disasters that, according to scientists, were aggravated by climate change: the disasters they argue are more likely in the future unless global emissions begin to fall sharply.

During a tragic and terrifying December in Australia, with forest fires proliferating in the heat and drought, the country broke its record for the hottest day in history. On December 18, the national average high temperature was 107.4 degrees (41.9 degrees Celsius). Europe recorded its hottest year and a heat wave in July broke temperature records. Paris, for example, recorded a stifling 108.7 degrees on July 25, breaking a record set in 1947.

Alaska also had its hottest year in 2019. It included an alarming lack of winter ice coverage in the seas of Bering and Chukchi, and in summer the temperature at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport reached 90 degrees for the first time.

Hurricanes such as Dorian devastated the Bahamas and other areas after intensifying rapidly, which according to some studies is related to warming of the seas and air temperature. A couple of powerful cyclones hit Mozambique in rapid succession, killing hundreds of people, destroying homes and causing devastating floods.

The year also brought signs that natural systems that serve to store large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, another powerful greenhouse gas, may be reeling as temperatures rise.

In December, a federal report indicated that the melting of permafrost throughout the Arctic may already be a net source of atmospheric carbon, a change that could accelerate global warming. Intense fires in the Amazon threaten to turn the world’s most productive rainforest into a drier and less carbon-rich savanna.

Reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change detailed last year how climate change already threatens food and water supplies, increases the threat of droughts and floods, kills coral reefs, supercharges monstrous storms, feeds deadly sea heat waves and contributes to record losses of sea ice.

A study this week also found that 2019 was the warmest recorded for the world’s oceans, with the hottest five years since 2015. The oceans have long absorbed the vast majority, about 93 percent, of the additional heat that humans are adding. to the climate through greenhouse gas emissions.

Even so, even while millions of protesters have taken to the streets to demand action, world leaders have so far shown little ability to move as fast as scientists say it is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In a bleak report last fall, the United Nations warned that the world had wasted so much time gathering the willpower to combat climate change that drastic and unprecedented emissions cuts are now the only way to avoid a cascade of consequences. increasingly intense. The UN report says that global temperatures are on the way to rising up to 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, and that emissions must start dropping 7.6 percent each year from this year to meet with the most ambitious objectives of the Paris climate agreement.

So far, many countries have not fulfilled the promises they made as part of the 2015 global agreement, including some of the world’s largest emitters. More than 100 countries have promised to present more ambitious plans to fight climate change by the end of this year, but together they represent only about 15 percent of global emissions. The Trump administration plans to exit the international agreement later this year.

Zeke Hausfather, a climate researcher at Berkeley Earth, said that despite the clear warming trend, humans still have the opportunity to shape what lies ahead.

“We still don’t have any sign of global warming deceleration, but we also don’t have any sign of global emissions slowdown,” he said. “What happens in the future depends a lot on our greenhouse gas emissions as a society. If we continue to emit at current levels, we will continue to heat at approximately the same rate.

“What happens in the future depends on us.”

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