The latest data confirms 2020 concludes the earth’s warmest 10-year period on record.
The HadCRUT5 global temperature series, produced by the Met Office, University of East Anglia and UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science, shows that the average for 2020 as a whole was 1.28±0.08°C above pre-industrial levels, taken as the average over the period 1850-1900. This makes 2020 nominally the second warmest year in the dataset’s record.
Data from a number of climate monitoring centres including the Met Office, NASA and NOAA are compiled by scientists at the Met Office for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to create its central annual global mean temperature estimate. The collection of datasets that make up the WMO figure all show that the previous 10 years were the warmest on record. In addition, they also all place 2020 in the top three years on record.
The ranking of second warmest in the HadCRUT5 dataset’s record is despite a transition into La Niña conditions in late 2020, which typically suppress global temperatures. Temperatures in the warmest year, 2016, were elevated by El Niño conditions which can increase global temperatures by around +0.2°C.
Dr Colin Morice, senior scientist in the Met Office’s climate monitoring team, said: “2020 has proved to be another notable year in the global climate record. For the global average temperature in 2020 to be yet another warm year, the second warmest on record even when influenced by a slight La Niña, is a sign of the continued impact of human induced climate change on our global climate. With all datasets showing a continued rise in global average temperature, the latest figures take the world one step closer to the limits stipulated by the Paris Agreement.”
The main contributor to warming over the last 170 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The effects of human-induced climate change are not limited to surface temperature. Warming of the climate system is seen across a range of climate indicators that build a holistic picture of climate change far beyond our expectations from natural variability across the land, atmosphere, oceans and ice.
Posted On: 15/01/2021