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The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) pointed out that 2020 will be one of the three warmest years in history. The decline in industrial activity and the decline in air travel, a sector with high greenhouse gas emissions, stopped the advance of global warming during the pandemic. Even the presence of the La Niña phenomenon, which usually cools the oceans and temperatures in general, didn't help.
In his preliminary report on the state of the climate in 2020, presented this Wednesday, it is estimated that the average temperature will be up to 1.2 ° C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). It's a similar number to 2019, only surpassing it until 2016, the warmest year on record.
"Unfortunately, 2020 was another unusual year for our climate in which new extreme temperatures were generated on the land surface, in the sea and especially in the Arctic," said Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of WMO, at a press conference.
"Despite the paralysis of many activities caused by COVID, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continued to rise, condemning the planet to further warming for many more generations due to the long persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," the report explains.
2020 will be one of the three warmest years of all time
The last decade has been the hottest in human history.
Ocean heat is at record levels, with widespread marine heat waves
Arctic saw exceptional warmth @UN @antonioguterres: The WMO # StateofClimate report shows the urgency of #ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/LHr3TkyieR
– World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) December 2, 2020
The document shows that the last six years since 2015 have been the warmest since scientific measurements began in 1850. Therefore, the 2011-2020 decade is the warmest in history.
The final results for 2020 will be available in March next year. It then confirms whether this was the second or third hottest year in modern history, as it is practically linked to 2019 for the time being.
Up to 38 ° C at the North Pole
The Siberian Arctic in northern Asia was the region where global warming was most manifested. The average temperatures there were above the average from 1981 to 2010. For example, the highest temperature in the world was recorded on June 20 in the Russian city of Verkhoyansk, one of the coldest places in the world. History at the Arctic Circle: 38 ° C. The situation contributed to Siberia suffering the worst forest fires in 18 years.
While the Antarctic ice remained stable, the Arctic ice reached its second lowest level in 42 years. The WMO warned that an icy mass of 152 billion tons had been lost in Greenland alone.
This global warming exacerbated extreme weather events such as floods, forest fires and droughts. According to the WMO, 10 million people became “climate refugees” who had to leave their homes, mainly in South Asia and the Horn of Africa.
"Forest fires destroyed large areas in Australia, Siberia, the west coast of the United States and South America (…), and a record number of hurricanes were recorded in the Atlantic," recalled Taalas in this context.
2019 was the second warmest year in existence. The World Meteorological Organization states that this is a consequence of global warming caused by human activities. Here we are going to show you 7⃣ evidence that climate change is here. @WMO pic.twitter.com/nUgH2IyKmv
– UN Climate Change (@ UNFCCC) March 29, 2020
The sea continues to rise
Since the beginning of 1993, the sea level has risen by more than three millimeters annually, according to the WMO. While there are no final numbers for 2020, the increase is estimated to be similar to 2019, despite a slight decrease in recent months due to the La Niña.
The WMO report highlights that this year more than 50 million people suffered a dual impact: climate disasters and the pandemic. For example in many Central American countries that suffer from hurricanes every year.
Citing the International Monetary Fund, the panel comes to the conclusion that the global recession caused by COVID-19 will make it more difficult to implement the measures necessary to contain the climate crisis. However, it is also an opportunity to put the economy on a greener path.
See also: Climate Change Could Be More Deadly Than Coronavirus: Bill Gates