Left Voice - January 12, 2021

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has revealed that global average temperatures in 2020 reached record heights: last year tied with 2016 as the hottest on record. The global average temperature was 0.6°C above the standard reference period of 1981-2010 and 1.25°C above the pre-industrial average. This is the sixth year since 2015 of exceptionally hot weather.

“It is no surprise that the last decade was the warmest on record,” said C3S Director Carlo Buontempo. “[it] is yet another reminder of the urgency of ambitious emissions reductions to prevent adverse climate impacts in the future.”

The largest annual temperature deviation from the standard reference period was seen in the Arctic and Northern Siberia. An exceptionally warm year in these regions culminated in temperatures more than 6°C above the average and saw ice sheets melt to a record-breaking low. The wildfire season was also unusually active in this region, with fires first detected in May and continuing well into autumn. These fires released a record 244 megatons of carbon dioxide, exceeding the 2019 record by nearly 35 percent. Australia and the U.S. West Coast also experienced unprecedented wildfires, adding to these staggering emissions.

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